Saturday Evening Posts – the last of 2013

Winter Path

Not a lot goin’ on this week. But there were some notables:

    These all had one thing in common: They seemed too tidily packaged, too neat, “too good to check,” as they used to say, to actually be true. Any number of reporters or editors at any of the hundreds of sites that posted these Platonic ideals of shareability could’ve told you that they smelled, but in the ongoing decimation of the publishing industry, fact-checking has been outsourced to the readers. Not surprisingly—as we saw with the erroneous Reddit-spawned witch-hunt around the Boston Marathon bombing—readers are terrible at fact-checking. And this, as it happens, is good for business because it means more shares, more clicks.

    This is not a glitch in the system. It is the system. Readers are gullible, the media is feckless, garbage is circulated around, and everyone goes to bed happy and fed.

    Fascinating. Infuriating.

  • This nifty database shows how apps suck up your data plan, GigaOm

Do you know how much apps can drain on your phone? This website will help you find out.

Firefox may not get quite as much love as it’s Google-y rival, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t get plenty of love in 2013. With plenty of add-ons and tricks to stay productive, keep your privacy, and customize your browser, here’s the best coverage of Firefox from the past year.

This year, Firefox received no less enthusiastic attention from its fanbase. This year, we learned how to use Adblock to fix YouTube’s biggest annoyances, erase your most embarrassing autocomplete suggestions, and how to manage more than nine tabs without ruining your browsing experience.

As law schools are forced to tighten their belts, law libraries are getting squeezed especially hard. The future of the law library isn’t merely bleak, according to law professor James G. Milles. He thinks they’re doomed.

Because I love scaring myself during break that I’ll be out of a job before break’s over.

Whether you’re among the chosen to get a new computer for the holidays or are burdened with the responsibility of playing family tech support, we’ve got you covered with an essential pack of Mac apps, utilities, tools, and time-wasters. Grab another moose-shaped mug of eggnog and start downloading.

I received a new iMac for my birthday (in August) that I just picked out a week ago. I love it, and am always on the hunt for good apps. I edited the image above in a free Mac photo editing app, Fotor (not sure I want to shell out $80 for Aperture, definitely sure I don’t want to shell out any more than that for the others, especially when I really just want a bunch of filters and borders). If anybody has any recommendations, let me know!

These are really funny. More often than not crude, and sometimes NSFW, but very funny.

Hope you all had warm, happy, safe, and cozy holidays!

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Solstice Evening Posts

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Happy Solstice, everyone! Are you as ready as I am for the days to get longer again? Well, it’s still going to be a while, so you might as well get caught up on blog posts from my RSS reader:
 

Tanning leather is a toxic endeavor and also quite fatal for animals, but a new alternative bio-based leather promises to be more environmentally friendly. Richard Wool, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Delaware has been working on an eco-leather alternative made from natural fibers and oils. Flax or cotton is […]

I am pretty excited about this; I hope it really is environmentally-friendly as well as cruelty-free. And would durable be too much to ask? I totally do the non-leather shoe thing (and purses and stuff, but that’s not as big of a deal), but they aren’t as high quality (on the other hand, they aren’t as expensive, either, so I can afford more of them).

  • New on SSRN: Legal Education in Crisis, and Why Law Libraries are Doomed, Out of the Jungle
  • The dual crises facing legal education—the economic crisis affecting both the job market and the pool of law school applicants, and the crisis of confidence in the ability of law schools and the ABA accreditation process to meet the needs of lawyers or society at large—have undermined the case for not only the autonomy, but the very existence, of law school libraries as we have known them.

    Oh, well, this isn’t depressing at all!

    Vampires, of course, feed on something that we desperately need but also can’t imagine being a source of food. You have metaphorical vampires in your life. These are people that feed on negativity, on shooting down ideas and most of…

    I guess I wasn’t the only one struck by Seth’s post:

  • Keep Calm and Carry Garlic, 3 Geeks and a Law Blog

This is the time of year when we reflect on all that has happened over the past 12 months; the successes, the failures, the moments of epiphany, the stumbles, the growth and change, basically everything that makes us human. That is why I was so struck by the timing and subject of Seth Godin’s recent post about vampires (and he’s not talking about Team Edward or reviewing the latest True Blood episode). Seth explains that these metaphorical vampires are “people that feed on negativity, on shooting down ideas and most of all, on extinguishing your desire to make things better.” What is so striking to me is that Seth says that these vampires cannot be cured; they cannot be shown the error of their ways. Trying to change their minds and get them on board is a waste of time. Seth explains that all we can do for these people is pity them.

… So we added Do.com to our list of services which have closed this year. Services like Xtranormal and Google Reader, just to name a couple.

So what do you do when your favorite web service shuts down? There are four basic steps that can help.

Imagine, if you will, a Venn Diagram. One circle is the unholy mess that is the current state of legal education.  One is the systematic failures surrounding issues of Access to Justice.  And the third circle is the Reinvent/Innovate/New Law world of individuals attempting to make the practice of law more efficient using technological solutions.

Saturday Evening Posts

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Seeing if this clickbait works as well as the last one.

I starred a lot of things in my reader this week. Hopefully you will find some of them interesting!

!!!

Relaxed can connect to your Facebook or Twitter accounts and automatically send out to replies to let people know you are taking a break from social media.

I think, maybe, if you need this app, you might have a bigger problem. But, on the other hand, if you need this app, I’m glad it exists for you!

Another amazing recurring bit in the Arrested canon is the Cornballer, George Sr.’s popular but really dangerous invention. The Cornballer, of course, made Cornballs, likely delicious fried treats (probably spelled with a ‘z’ like treatz), but it also severely burned its users.

Totally want to make these.

If you want to get a little activity while you sit at your desk or your computer, the DeskCycle may be a good fit for you. It’s a tiny stationary bike that’s essentially just the pedals, small enough to slide under your desk at work or at home so you get some pedaling in while you work, chat, or play video games.

Where our beloved FitDesk is a full standing exercise bike, the DeskCycle does away with the seat and handlebars, and instead acts a bit like a recumbent bike. You sit in your desk chair, and you continue to use your computer normally, you’re just pedaling under your desk. When we say the DeskCycle is small, we mean it—it’s only about 20 inches across, 24 inches long, and the tallest pedal height is 10 inches. That means if you have two feet square under your desk, you can fit this thing under it and use it without issue.

Going to measure my desk in my office first thing next time I go in. I kind of want this.

This morning Pew Internet & American Life released its latest report on libraries in the digital age. “How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities” reports on the value of libraries services to their community.

People who answer these studies always seem to say they value their libraries, but does it ever have an effect on what happens to public libraries?

I admit that I don’t understand how 3-D printing works, but are people clamoring for the ability to print lingerie?

Part 7 of my Top 10 Ed-Tech Trends of 2013 series

This is the third year in a row that I’ve chosen “data” as one of the “top trends” in ed-tech. (See 2011, 2012) If you’re looking for a sunnier view of data in education, read those. 2013, in my opinion, was pretty grim.

The idea being explored is worth revisiting every single gift-giving season. Little girls are confronted by strong messages about beauty and body image conformity very early. They are pushed into sexy images early as well. It’s not just Barbie and Bratz with totally unrealistic body dimensions. The Disney princesses, even re-worked for modern theories of empowered women are still worth discussing with little girls. Do you have to have a dainty little nose to be a princess? Do you have to be thin? Do you have to have little feet and elegant hands? How about whether you have to have swishy smooth lush shiny hair that swoops back and forth around you? Do you have to have big eyes with long lashes? What if your mouth isn’t small in a cute, pointy chin, with pouty lips? What if, maybe you aren’t a classic beauty? Does beauty mean you are good? Does good mean you are beautiful? These two things are sort of mixed up together in the Disney princesses, and in way too much of our little kid toy, AV and illustrated material.

This isn’t what the blog author is talking about so much here, but have you seen the imagined girl-appealing portraits of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Anne Frank, Harriet Tubman, et al that she starts this post with? I think it’s important to introduce children to these figures as role models in lieu of the Disney princesses, of course, but the drawings of the figures make them look like … Disney princesses. Which, of course, is part of the point – get girls interested in them. But they’ve got the waspy waists, giant eyes, low-cut gowns, etc. I think the sparkly clothes and “fairy-like” aspects could be kept – thus raising interest in girls – without making them have the same physical characteristics that we complain about with the Disney princesses (and Bratz dolls, etc., of course).

Do you have a great lesson plan or assignment that you’d be willing to share?  How about handouts or PowerPoint slides?  If so, then we need your help! The RIPS Teach-In Kit Committee is currently accepting submissions for the 2014 Teach-In Kit.  The Teach-In Kit is […]

Once our hybrid internet legal research class is all polished and shiny, I’m thinking of contributing to this.

Saturday Evening Posts

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This image has nothing to do with this post. It is pure clickbait.

Confession time: I’ve been binge watching Gossip Girl on Netflix (Canadian Netflix is years behind the times, we only just got it),…

The “homemade irish cream” thing is the only part of this post I’m interested in.

Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Donna M. Lanclos, and Erin M. Hood, in conversation with Beth Forrest Warner, share insights into a three-year U.S.-U.K. collaborative study project that identifies how students and faculty engage with technology and information sources.

This was a great year for all things photography, with posts to help you behind the camera, in front of it, when you’re shooting, and when you’re editing. Here’s a look back at our most popular photography tips, tricks, and hacks of 2013.

Have I ever told you about my love for bread? Probably not. Most people think I am all about the sweets since…

My love of Naan is overshadowed only by my love of Irish Cream.

I’m going to take the opportunity to address the points Matt raised – not because I am trying to stay “relevant,” as some might suggest (my blog is a not-for-profit personal passion and I don’t consult/train for a fee), and also not because I have a vested interest in “keeping Boolean search alive” (because I really don’t) – rather, because I am still amazed that a fundamental lack of understanding of search and information retrieval – both “manual” Boolean search and “automated” taxonomy driven and/or AI-powered semantic search – and I am constantly trying to help people not only understand both, but also appreciate their intrinsic limitations, as well as separate reality from hype.

iOS: Keeping track of all the junk you find online is never an easy task. To help you organize that stuff, Ember is an app that fits somewhere between Pinterest and Evernote, and manages to keep things simple enough that anyone can use it.

Ember works a lot like Evernote’s Web Clipper where you can quickly and easily add a picture to a collection. From there, you can add notes, create different collections, and more. The iOS version of the app is basically a simple organization app, whereas the (pricey, at $50) Mac app is a bit more feature-packed. Even still, as a simple and fast place to collect images, Ember works really well on iOS and you don’t need to use the Mac app to appreciate it.

Oh, my gosh, how I need someone to organize all my digital junk. And, while we’re at it, how ’bout my physical junk?

OK – don’t shoot me for the wording of the title of this post. We can all argue about what “better” means. I opened this thread in response to comments in a previous thread expressing concerns about what today’s students…

For those of you looking for gifts for the tea lovers among you:

This [Kickstarter] project was born of my frustration with not being able to drink my carefully-brewed, but too hot, coffee right after I made it, and it then getting cold before I had time to enjoy it. I wanted it just right.

I thought about this problem and had an inspiration: why not take the excess heat out of the too-hot coffee, store it in the wall of the mug, and then use it later to keep the coffee at a pleasant drinking temperature?

This actually sounds really cool, and I may be persuaded to fund it.

There’s something wonderful about curling up with a warm cup of tea on a freezing cold night. I’m partial to mint myself,..

This is just pretty cute. Especially if you know a scientist-type who loves tea.

Saturday Evening Posts

In case you missed it, here are some articles that caught my eye this week:

As much as privacy is about one’s ability to control what others know about one, it’s also about protecting the freedom of the modern democratic society.

The processes that make our democratic and free society possible are built on transparent and fair decision-making. If you strip out transparency you end up with totalitarianism. The current practice of harvesting and analysing individual’s private and public data jeopardises the whole system of fair decision-making.

You can be a sharp writer and a nimble researcher who is skilled at analyzing cases. But for law school graduates entering the workforce, it’s the softer skills, like work ethic, collegiality and a sense of individual responsibility, that really impress legal employers, according to a new study.

Barely a week has gone by this year without some MOOC-related news. Much like last year, massive open online courses have dominated ed-tech conversations.

But if 2012 was, as The New York Times decreed, the year of the MOOC, 2013 might be described as the year of the anti-MOOC as we slid down that Gartner Hype Cycle from the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” and into the “Trough of Disillusionment.” For what it’s worth, Gartner pegged MOOCs at the peak back in July, while the Horizon Report says they’re still on the horizon. Nevertheless the head of edX appeared on the Colbert Report this year, and the word “MOOC” entered the Oxford Online Dictionary – so whether you think those are indications of peak or trough or both or neither, it seems the idea of free online university education has hit the mainstream.

MOOCs expanded greatly in 2013 – expanded their partner institutions, expanded their course offerings, expanded their investment dollars, grew the number of students enrolled, and so on. But there were lots of questions along the way: who’s succeeding in MOOCs; how will MOOCs make money; how will MOOCs affect higher education; and how will MOOCs affect open education?

Richard Susskind’s popular book “The End of Lawyers” highlights a future where disruptive technological change and increased commoditization of legal services fundamentally changes the practice of law. Susskind and others have written on the power of automation, of computers not just changing the way we practice law, but possibly bypassing lawyers completely.

As algorithms take over an increasing amount of the investment market, and surgeons rely more on the precision of robots, what is to stop computers from taking over the practice of law?

Librarians and faculty in the disciplines tend to think differently about knowledge.

One of the major differences is that librarians have a tendency to think of knowledge as made up of things and faculty in other disciplines think of people.

Saturday Evening Posts

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Selfies, Selfies and more selfies: so much so it is the word of the year and in order to celebrate and understand the concept of selfie, I decided to curate seven of the best pieces I have read around selfies.

Part 2 of my Top 10 Ed-Tech Trends of 2013 series

I’m not going to summarize all the education-related political developments from 2013. Pardon me while I skip over the Department of Education’s No Child Left Behind waivers; the impact of sequestration and the federal government shutdown of education programs; the Supreme Court’s Fisher v Texas decision; (failed) education in Tennessee to tie a family’s welfare benefits to children’s grades; “the missing Michelle Rhee” memo; Senator Alexander’s attempts to let Congress, and not peer review, decide who gets NSF money; court cases against administrators in Tennessee and Georgia involved in test-cheating scandals; the hiring of former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to head the University of California system; the end of Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure in NYC (and as promised by newly elected Mayor Bill De Blasio, an end to many of Bloomberg’s edu policies); and the publication of Ron Paul’s book on education. Might I recommend instead POLITICO’s new education vertical, which launched this year – particularly its morning email that summarizes all your daily (US) politics-and-education news. (Or on second thought…)

When information is digital, it is nothing but strings of 1s and 0s. Unlike printed text or analog recordings, those 1s and 0s can be rendered in many different ways without changing the underlying information. This flexibility has the potential to throw the doors of disability wide open, letting in those who cannot see or […]

Online consignment shop for women’s clothing, Twice, has made the move to mobile, starting first with a dedicated app for iPad, out now. The company, founded in 2012 and backed by $4.6 million in outside funding, was already seeing over half its emails opened on iPad, indicating a need to better address users on this platform with a native experience. Now that the app is live, the company expects it will drive around 25% of all revenue post-launch.

I know that we’ve talked for years about the amount of information that people give out freely via social media platforms, but I haven’t seen any video that’s better than Jack Vale’s Social Experiment in showing strangers how much he can know about them just by reviewing their social media posts.

My favorite part of the video comes around the 3:15 mark where one of the ‘pranked’ victims says “Thanks for invading my privacy.” I don’t think he understands what privacy means. He’s not alone.

Yesterday Google Scholar Blog announced the launch of Google Scholar Library, a feature that allows a user to:

. . . save articles right from the search page, organize them by topic, and use the power of Scholar’s full-text search to quickly find just the one you want – at any time and from anywhere . . .

You’re able to use “labels” to organize the material you’ve saved to your library.

A user must log in to Google and via this link activate the Library feature.

In keeping with the theme of the evolving role of the law librarian, it may be time for law librarians to start thinking about online legal research instruction. Currently, Standard 306 of the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools allows for no more than a total of 12 credit hours in online or distance […]

Legal Futures this week posted on the results of the third annual survey of what clients want from their legal service provider, conducted by legal technology service provider Peppermint Technology in the United Kingdom.

The post included two points that caught my eye. First, the survey found that clients are concerned about whether their legal advisor is able to provide online accessibility:

“There is now a significant body of businesspeople for whom online access has become a necessity of their working life,” the report said. “If their legal advisers are not perceived to be up to speed with this development,

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For anybody interested, my luggage is safe and sound and with me, after some undoubtedly exciting adventures in Atlanta.

Saturday Evening Posts

To tell you guys the truth, I kind of have a lot going on at the moment and don’t really have time for blogging right now. It’s only because I sort of challenged myself with NaBloPoMo that I’m posting anything. Also, I’ve set up an IFTT recipe to automatically post a draft to my WordPress blog when I favorite a link in my Feedly Reader. So! Here are some things that caught my eye this week. I still haven’t really had a chance to read them. Perhaps you’ll also find them interesting?

Most legal libraries subscribe to a number of online services, so library users frequently have to search multiple electronic resources as part of their legal research, and trust that they have not inadvertently missed any relevant resources. Researchers need to know what electronic products they have access to, what materials these products contain, and how to best to search them. Other challenges related to online research include the duplication of resources (some materials can be found in multiple online services) and cost containment.

Not everyone agrees that we should reduce law school to two years.  Tax Professor Edward Zelinsky (Cardozo) makes a pitch for a four year law school […]

In Brief: In the library world, we may look to other fields to help us make sense of new digital literacies. Their frameworks may offer us new perspectives, challenge our assumptions, or give us greater clarity on the issues. Transliteracy is one non-library-centric framework that has been promoted for this purpose.  […]

Where’s I’m from, we have a little something called “the come to Jesus talk.” It’s not a religious event. Rather, it is an opportunity to take someone aside, detail the error of their ways and point the way towards their salvation, much like a concerned preacher takes aside an errant member of their flock.

After digesting the Legal Education and Training Review report (LETR) for three months, England’s largest legal regulator, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), has delivered its response. This is important because the big legal regulators—SRA, Bar Standards Board, Ilex Professional Services—shape the structure of the qualifying law degree, […]

To make a change happen.
No change, no point. A presentation that doesn’t seek to make change is a waste of time and energy. Before you start working on your presentation, the two-part question to answer is, “who will be…

Happy Reading!

Day 2 of NaBloPoMo

So, it’s only Day 2 of this thing and I feel like I don’t have anything to write today. Normally (and I guess by “normally,” I mean, that one time for a two-week-stretch-or-so that I was blogging regularly) I like to post my weekly update of blog posts that interested me this week. But lately my blog-post-marking has been with an eye toward, “I want to keep track of this,” rather than, “Ooh! Others might find this interesting.” See:

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Let me know if you want to read any of these posts & I’ll send you a link. There’s also my Evernote notebook I’m creating on the recent flurry of (mostly) law professors either writing in favor of or dumping on law reviews:
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which you may or may not (probably not) find interesting. So, instead, I’m going to leave you with some pretty pictures that I took this morning during my morning walk.
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Red

Golden leaves

See you tomorrow!

Seen around the interwebz

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Oh, my goodness, the whiplash Instagram has given me this week:

Meanwhile, Flickr, the place where I’ve stored all my photos for the last four years (in addition to my computer, of course), has a new iPhone app that is really pretty cool: GigaOM, Flickr belatedly joins the mobile photo wars with new iPhone app.

Saturday Night Fever

#Snow. #stpaul #mn #PhotoToaster

It’s actually been kind of a slow week, starred-blog-items-wise. In real life, of course, I’m deckin’ the halls and all that jazz. By the way, Happy start of Hanukkah, for those of you who celebrate!

There are a few things I found interesting this week, however. As usual, in no particular order, you may enjoy:

  • Instagram Blog, Millions Drawn to Lyon’s Fête des Lumières. Pretty pictures of pretty lights! In France! Really, what more could you want?
  • Library Stuff, Bedbugs Hitch a Ride on Library Books. Okay, well, this is just horrific. I may never go to the library again. Or to work!
  • HelloGiggles, 20 Years of Awesome: A History of Lomography Cameras. For a while there, the “Lomo Fi” filter on Instagram was my favorite filter, and I didn’t know there was a real-life camera (and movement, I guess) from whence it got its name, the Lomo Kompakt Automat.
  • The Flickr blog. I’m all about photography today, I guess! I save all of my photos to Flickr. I know it’s not the most social-media savvy of photo sharing sites, and that’s not primarily how I use it – it’s my back-up repository, for the most part. But I am pretty loyal to it, and they have a great blog with gorgeous photos. You should subscribe to their RSS feed now. A daily dose of beautiful shots! What a nice thing to look forward to every morning!
  • And lastly:

This is my new favorite Christmas video of all time:

Bookmark it now for whenever you need a lift.