Our New Baby: Kenmore Library

Yeah I know I haven’t blogged here in ages.  I’ve been bringing a new library into the world!  I’ve mentioned quite a bit around the traps how much work has been going into a couple of big projects we’re doing, well, I think I need to share the fruits of our labour.

Kenmore library has been in the planning for a long, long time.  It’s been burbling about for I don’t know how long, and finally this year really and truly happened.  We opened the doors to the public on Tuesday (14/12/10) and it was wonderful to finally show our new baby off.  It was also wonderful to see the lovely members of the public come in and just be delighted with their new library.  It made all the hard work and lack of sleep of the past weeks worth it.

Without any further ado, I’ve got some photos to share with you all:

Returns
Such a simple thing, made so beautiful.

New Books
I love the display units that Brandi Exhibitions put together.

Magazines
It’s so good to see colour in libraries!

Reading Corner
There’s nothing like a little festive touch in a reading corner.

Public Internets
Even the public computers are laid out to look lovely.

Junior
A welcoming Junior area.

Junior PC's
With computers JUST for the kids.

Where the Wild Things Are
Makes me think of “Where the Wild Things Are”.

Junior Corner
Reading nooks make me happy (especially if they have discreet storage in them!)

YA Area
With the nicest Young Adult area, complete with X-Box station.

Leaf Shelves in YA
Including innovative and funky shelving and seating.

63" Plasma
Of course, the technology is my particular passion – which is good because AV and IT are what my part of the picture is.  Look at the size of this thing! Sports in 63″ plasma glory.

42" Plasma
Or if you prefer the news…

Meeting Room South
I am so proud of the meeting rooms. These are actually three rooms opened up to one. The technology available for the customers to use is SO sexy and simple.

Meeting Room North
With lovely kitchenettes for those events that need a cuppa and something to eat.

As you can see the old stereotypes of libraries were blown out of the water with this beautiful new library.  Lots of people worked so hard to bring this lovely, vibrant library to life and I’m so proud to have been one of them!

December 19, 2010. Kenmore, libraries, technology, work. 5 comments.

Things I Have Done Today

  1. Had a briefing meeting about installing PC’s over a coffee at 7.30am.
  2. Met with a supplier’s new manager.
  3. Explained the difference between staff and public computers.
  4. Took someone on a tour through the library site and shown them all of the technology I am responsible for making happen.
  5. Explaining why we have things like Foxtel (Pay TV), X-Boxes and HD-TV in libraries.
  6. Tried to get a new computer build created STAT.
  7. Explained why it is important for the new library to be created as a “site” in our computer system.
  8. Measured joinery ready for a cabinet to be installed.
  9. Demonstrated where cabling for Foxtel is installed through the ceiling.
  10. Tried to find out how wall decals are installed and how long it will take for them to be dry/ready so I can work around them.
  11. Learnt how a PA system works, and what kind of cabling it requires if it has to be cabled more than 15 metres.
  12. Decided where the PA system point will be.
  13. Learnt how a video intercom works.
  14. Explained to someone how a hearing loop works, and what the current Queensland law for hearing loops in public buildings entails.
  15. Learnt how to shut down COMMS boards and why I would need to do so.
  16. Decided on where Foxtel decoder boxes should be mounted.
  17. Designed an ergonomics system for an entire library.
  18. Learned what Corian is, and how you need to cut it or drill holes in it.
  19. Measured desks to sink holes for cables and bolts to go into them.
  20. Finally got to go to the ladies room and grab a drink of water.
  21. Logged on a brand new PC ready to add software and configure it.
  22. Walked away from PC to demonstrate how a desk will be set up ergonomically.
  23. Met with a Self Checkout machine supplier to show him where the new machines will go, and explained how they fit in with other furniture.
  24. Showed an electrician where power and data points were to go and explained the difference between public and staff data points.
  25. Inspected a credenza and how it fits against a wall and where it’s cabling goes.
  26. Showed someone an AV rack, explained each component in it, how it was cabled and what the man sitting in the corner near it with a laptop was doing.
  27. Demonstrated the trompe l’oeil effect of mounting projector screens with different ceiling heights.
  28. Sat down at that brand new PC again, partially installed one piece of software.
  29. Had to run and find the joinery fitter and work out when I can get joinery cut.
  30. Showed two staff how to use the payroll system.
  31. Tried to finish installing that software.
  32. Answered a phone call about ergonomics.
  33. Discussed lighting levels and acoustics.
  34. Was shown a very expensive piece of equipment and now I’ve forgotten what it does.
  35. Managed a complaint about builders leaving half eaten food (noodles) in the middle of sites for 3 days.
  36. Finally got that software installed.
  37. Called three people getting information for an electrician.
  38. Tried to start configuring the PC again.
  39. Ran downstairs to bring someone into the building site.
  40. FINALLY finished that first PC, rebooted it and logged it in ready for the staff to use!
  41. Decided it was time for a break.  Ducked downstairs to a cafe and hid in a corner for 10 minutes with a coffee and some pecan pie, just trying to get my brain back into order.
  42. Answered my phone twice.
  43. Ran back upstairs because someone was looking for me about something in the office next door to the library.
  44. Logged on a second PC to install software and configure it.
  45. Was asked for a DVD to test some equipment.  Thankfully I just HAPPENED to have one in my backpack.
  46. Hung around to watch the equipment being tested, because I’ve worked so hard to get it happening and it’s so lovely I wanted to see.
  47. The first words that came across from the DVD player from a Frasier DVD were “Is this thing on?”  Weird!
  48. Was informed a desk was the wrong design.
  49. Told informer to go away and let me think about it.
  50. Answered my phone again.  Told caller to email me whatever they needed and I’d make it happen… somehow.
  51. Went through a delivery docket with hundreds of pieces of equipment on it and worked out if every piece was there.
  52. Went and looked at desk.  It doesn’t fit.
  53. Freaked out a bit.
  54. Tried to get more software and config done on that second PC.
  55. Decided it would be a good idea to photograph everything I’m doing to document it.
  56. Ran around photographing everything.
  57. Called the boss about the stupid desk.
  58. Solved a problem with networked drives.
  59. Talked to the head builder about all the things we’re trying to get done in the next week.
  60. Tried to find the joinery dudes again.
  61. Sent my two IT techs away for the day, they’d done all they could.
  62. Decided to experiment with the desk.  Asked for volunteers, took photos of the desk with two lady librarians sitting at it.
  63. Went back to that second PC and finally got it finished.
  64. Realised that I needed to measure burly blokes on that desk.
  65. Rounded up the two tallest, broadest shouldered blokes on site and made them model for demonstrative photographs at the desk.
  66. Laughed.  A lot.
  67. Realised I was still carrying a large bolt in my pocket.
  68. Decided at 1.45pm that I was STARVING and needed some space.
  69. Went and got lunch, and was sitting in a corner sending text message photos of the desk with aforementioned burly blokes modelling to the boss when a colleague and an IT manager plonked themselves down with me.
  70. Lunch became a meeting.
  71. Went back to the site.  Gave up on trying to install software and configure PC’s.
  72. Had another run through of the AV.  The AMX programming is coming along nicely, and now the lovely motorised screens go up and down, projectors running, DVD players in, two out of three touch panels installed and looking amazing.
  73. Head builder told us they were turning the power off on us in 5 minutes.
  74. Updated the library TL on progress.
  75. Discussed further requirements with IT manager.
  76. Came home.
  77. Spent 2 hours on emails dealing with “normal” work.
  78. Realised I have to do something similar all day tomorrow.

I AM A LIBRARIAN!!!

Why the hell am I doing all of the above?

Because I love it.  I love technology.  I love working with builders and techies and tradies.  Because I run around a building site in lipstick and hot pink pigtails with all of these burly blokes and laugh and have fun despite the frustration and stress, and enjoy the ever changing task list and environment.  Because I believe in what I do, and I do it for the people of my city/community.

And because I’m bloody good at it!

PS. Operation Baldy is up to $467!!  Almost to the halfway point.  For an update, click here.

December 2, 2010. about me, AV, blokes, computers, humour, IT, laughs, librarians, libraries, organisation, responsibility, technology. 2 comments.

Protecting Your Children

Thinking more about internet censorship today.  I have half a dozen different tangents buzzing around in my head, but I’ll try to pull them out into focused topics for you and publish each one separately.  The reason there is so much buzzing around in my head is because this internet filter that the Australian government are planning to implement has so many flaws and reasons why it’s wrong for the government to do this to the Australian public that one doesn’t quite know where to start!

Today I was thinking about the claims by the government that they plan to implement this mandatory censorship simply to protect children from child pornography.  This is the hub of all their arguments, and it’s a cunning little ploy to force all of us that are against their censorship to look like we actually condone child pornography on the internet.

This is not true.  Those of us who are against censoring the internet are very much against child pornography, but we also know that this “filter” will do NOTHING to protect children from these predators, while actually making it easier for them.

Let me direct you to a fairly good description of how censoring the internet will not prevent or protect children from child pornography…

Click here

Now, as the post above explains, filtering the internet does not cover peer to peer networks (which is what child pornographers are using, and will be using even more once the internet is censored, because it will become even more safe for them).

A simpler explanation is this.  The internet is a whole bunch of computers all around the world, all connecting to each other through a web of internet service providers.  It is possible to filter internet service providers so that things you don’t want people to see are blocked, as well as files and documents are filtered so you can’t share illegal material.  However in doing so, it does things like slow down the service, block things you don’t want blocked, and be controlled by something like a government body.

A peer to peer network is like a small ring or web of computers that are only connected to each other.  Other than those actually in the network, who have been screened and invited, there is no way to block or filter it.  So people who are using p2p have the ability to share illegal material easily amongst themselves, passing it from one to another with no problem at all.  They don’t have to worry about the authorities finding it, because it’s not connected to the greater internet.

This is what child sexual predators are already using to share their disgusting child pornography.  As well as chat rooms, postal mail, and even hand delivery.  The internet filter will not affect this AT ALL.

Child predators do not build websites to lure children in.  They go to where the kids already are (Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and other popular sites), pose as other kids and groom them up there to trust them and make decisions that their young minds aren’t ready for.  No filter will fix this.  The only thing that will is awareness in kids as to what is safe behaviour, and good police resources to work towards capturing the predators.

Add to that the fact that the billions of your tax dollars that will be spent on this internet censorship will actually be diverted from areas like police, legal and prison resources that actually DO find, catch, prosecute and sentence child predators.  If the government have money to spend on this ineffective filter, why don’t they devote it ALL to resources that ARE effective?

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to protect children on the internet at an immediate level.  The most effective way is parental supervision.  That doesn’t just mean hovering over the computer while your child uses it, but teaching your kids that stranger danger doesn’t just happen on the streets, that it’s not ok to talk to people on the internet you don’t know.  It means teaching them how to use the internet to find good information and fun safely.  It means having the computer in a common area of the house if you have children, so that you are present to answer their questions or notice strange behaviour.  And if you have quite young children (under 10) then there are inexpensive software packages that help YOU choose what they can and cannot access on the internet.  Perhaps the government could spend the billions of dollars of your tax money in providing this software to every household that has a child?  It could quite easily be sent home from school with them, or mailed to you.  Or on a government website for you to download.

Instead of offering all these solutions that we know actually work, they plan to put an mandatory internet filter in place that will not actually help prevent child pornography or catch any child predators are out there.

Which raises the question… what is it that they really want to block us from seeing and why? Food for thought hmmm?

January 11, 2010. Australia, censorship, child pornography, child predators, children, education, internet, No Clean Feed, paedophiles, pedophiles, peer to peer networks, police, politics, responsibility, safety, taxes, technology, transparency. 4 comments.

Why It’s Important…

Time for another blog post on the subject of the Australian Governments plan to force all Australians under mandatory Internet Service Provider (ISP) level filtering of the internet.

I had been planning to go to a meeting tonight in Brisbane of people interested in working out how we can prevent this from happening, but unfortunately I’ve not been well today and had to come home, so I’m going to take some time to do another blog post, and I’ll catch up tomorrow with updates from the meeting and where to go from there.

Ok, let’s start by sharing a very clear, plain-language website which explains the internet censorship plans, and gives you straight-forward steps you can take to have your say on the matter:

The Gift of Censorship

If you click on no other links, click on that one.  It is the clearest, simplest explanation I have seen so far.

Secondly, I know many people are asking why we Australians should be concerned about this policy the government are introducing.  Well, here are a few reasons:

  1. Mandatory censorship of our internet will draw us in line with countries such as China, Iran and Saudi Arabia.  These countries censor what their citizens can access and use on the internet.  People are not allowed to read or talk to each other freely and openly on the internet.
  2. The government are telling us that they are doing this to protect children.  However they are not only planning to filter child pornography, but also anything that has “refused classification”.  This includes anything of an adult nature that you and I can consent to view and access that does not fit the somewhat narrow ACMA guidelines.  This may include things like computer games (adults over 25 are the highest consumers of gaming in Australia – NOT children), legitimate adult sexual material, information on abortion, euthanasia and drug use and/or portions of interactive websites that may contain these subjects (which means YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc).
  3. The government are not making the list of blocked sites public.  This means that you can be censored for something and not even know about it.  They can just display a generic “error” message that makes no sense to the average internet user, and you would never know what was on the other side.  What is to stop them from blocking anything they like?  Want to speak out against the current government  (or indeed, possibly even future governments) like I am here?  You might find your own site blocked.  That’s right – even your blog, or website can be blocked, and labelled “refused classification”
  4. This internet censorship will not stop child pornography.  All it will do is make paedophiles more creative in how they traffic their filth.  It will not protect children, it will not prevent child pornography from being traded, and will make it harder for the police and other authorities to track, find, prosecute and punish paedophiles.

As someone who works in an industry where our whole philosophy is behind serving the community with information, literacy and education, the idea of the government censoring any form of media and information is totally abhorrent to me.

We can not be living in a democratic society if our government is censoring us and keeping information from us.

December 21, 2009. Australia, censorship, children, choice, democracy, ethics, freedom, information, internet, literacy, morals, No Clean Feed, technology. 2 comments.

No Clean Feed

Ok, so I just sat down and wrote a letter to my local MP.  Because this is something that really matters to me.  If you are concerned about the issue of censorship of the internet in Australia, and about mandatory ISP level filtering, I urge you to write to your MP yourself.  You can find yours by going to the Australian Electoral Commission website and entering your postcode or suburb.  We need intelligent, organised, rational action from as many Australians as possible to challenge this restrictive, backwards action from our government.  I hope you can take the time to take part in this, because inaction now will only mean more restrictions and censorship in the future.

Here is my  letter (written very quickly in one big rush!) to my MP:

Dear Mr Perrett,

I am writing to you as a member of your constituency in Moreton, and as someone who voted for you in November 2007. I voted Labor because the archaic attitudes of the then Howard government frightened me, and were not reflective of the kind of country I believe Australia is, nor should it be.

Today I heard the news that your government has given the green light to introduce mandatory ISP level filtering of the internet for “refused classification” level material. This is the kind of restrictive, backwards attitude towards the Australian people’s right and responsibility to access and use the media (and not just the internet) freely and openly that I would have expected from the Howard government.

I am a librarian. I work in information technology for public libraries, working very hard to ensure that our country today has access to information and education and improved literacy. Censorship and access to information is important to me as a librarian, an Australian and someone who believes in our right to freedom of information and Australians taking the personal responsibility for their use of information and the media.

I do understand that there need to be measures in place to ensure criminal activity is stopped, as well as vulnerable members of our society being protected while using all forms of media. But this should not happen through mandatory censorship of all Australians. We are not China Mr Perrett, and to me, the concern is in that “refused classification” will broaden and expand to encompass anything that the governing body does not want Australians to have access to. If a group of people gather peacefully online to show dissent and lampoon your government, does this mean that the tools/sources used can be refused classification as well? That voices of Australians are silenced?

I have always been proud to be an Australian and sang our praises as a country that has access to all media freely that other parts of the world do not – even Western cultures like the USA and Britain. Australians are generally far more versed in events, politics, world news, history and all subjects than our equivalents around the world. For any form of censorship to be placed on us mandatorily is not only offensive, but it is a global embarrassment.

Add to this that as it is, internet access in Australia is already backwards, adding mandatory filtering is only going to force the technology further behind in speed, accuracy and usability.

It is MY responsibility to use the internet and all other forms of media legally, responsibly and to take an active role in knowing what my children and children I am responsible for are using in the media. It is not the Australian governments role to intervene as though I and all other Australian citizens are incapable of taking these responsibilities ourselves. The Australian government need to be part of educating the Australian people on HOW to use media responsibly, appropriately and safely, not deciding how to do that for them.

I urge you to think carefully about what your constituents want, and our rights and responsibilities as Australian citizens. I urge you to listen and indeed join Australian people in raising their voices to say clearly that mandatory internet filtering and censorship is not acceptable.

Show that you are committed to finding reasonable, working solutions to smart media education for ALL forms of media and information without censorship of a nation of people who are proud of their freedom of information. I thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you on this matter.

Yours sincerely

December 15, 2009. censorship, freedom, information, internet, No Clean Feed, responsibility, technology, transparency. 10 comments.

Freak Out Your Inner Geek

I had a bit of a geek girl dream day yesterday. In the afternoon I was lucky enough to go and visit with new Twitter friends at their lovely house on the Gold Coast. Not only is their house absolutely beautiful, but it’s a true geek girl haven with the most exquisite mini theatre and all the gaming bizzo you could dream of. I’m not a gamer, but sitting on the floor of their theatre room watching a group of gals playing Beatles Rock Band, was so much fun. Made especially fun by the fantastic company.

However tonight’s blog post is going to be about the total orgasmo-fest that is the Apple Store at Robina. That’s what we did in the morning – made a special trip to the Robina shopping centre just for the Apple Store. It did not disappoint.
It looks great, right from when you walk up to the front door. A big glass front with no displays in the windows. The store IS the display. And simply the Apple logo in white above the door. Just like their products, you know straight away what you’re getting and what’s in there.
Once we went inside, there were lots of “squeeeee” noises because they have several tables with iPhones just laid out on them for you to play with. Some are loaded up with apps, some are showcasing particular features, others are just there for you to tinker. Some goon had left his email open on the one I went to, and I had the overwhelming desire to send him an email on it, but I did the good karma thing and deleted it from the iPhone.
Even though I already have an iPhone, I still tinkered and played with the ones there. Mostly because I got a taste of some of the apps I don’t have. And they’d set them up to do things I haven’t learnt to do yet.
While we were there, they had a class for people in the Snow Leopard operating system. A very personable young man was taking a group of about 8 people through the operating system, in what seemed like a clear, concise way. I wouldn’t mind having a go at one of those sessions myself.
I am planning to buy an iMac in a month or so when my PC lease runs out, so I decided to see if I could get someone to talk to me about it. It didn’t take long for someone to acknowledge me, and he asked if I would like some help. When I said yes, he said “I’m just with someone right now, but I’ll get someone for you while I’m at it.” He kept with his customers but acknowledged me every time he came past and found me someone within about 10 minutes. The guy who came to talk to me was friendly without being pushy, helped me with my questions about leasing/finance/full purchase and then asked me what I would mostly like to use my computer for. And gave me a demo of iPhoto, which is pretty bloody impressive.
I also had a look at all of the MacBooks, all laid out on the table and up and running for customers to tinker with. Perused the walls full of accessories for all your Apple goodies. Watched a huge mofo television with Apple TV hooked up to it. Gazed at the very attractive but also friendly staff. And plotted and planned for when I can get my very own iMac.
If you’re of the geeky pursuasion, even if you’re only dipping your toe in the pool of geekdom, make your way to the nearest Apple store to you. Not only are they absolutely gorgeous, impressive products but you are encouraged to tinker and play by the very friendly staff. You will have lots of fun (and be planning your own iPhone/iMac/MacBook purchase in the very near future!)

October 11, 2009. Apple, computers, geek girls, Gold Coast, iPhone, Robina, shopping, technology. Leave a comment.

iPhone, uPhone we all Phone

After the heat of last night’s blog post, I wanted to settle things down just a little bit tonight so that I can think about some stuff before I get back into the big meaty topics.  I blog at night after a long day at work, so I do need a wee brain rest from time to time.

So tonight, I want to talk about my shiny new iPhone, which is only two weeks old.  I am in love.  I know, I know, it’s just a gadget, but OMG it’s revolutionising my entire life!  Oh alright, maybe not that much but I am finding that it is streamlining a LOT of things for me.
Photobucket
It has an excellent diary/calendar function.  I just pop in the details of stuff right then and there, when I hear about it, I can set reminders and I can see it all per week or per month, whatever suits.  No more forgetting when I’ve booked to be somewhere and I can put in people’s birthdays and such too.
I have access to the internet wherever I am (pretty much anyway) with the iPhone.  Need an answer to a question?  Google it or use Wikipedia.  Need to know how much money in my bank account?  Netbanking.  Want directions?  Google maps, and the iPhone has a built in GPS, so it can find ME.  Need news?  ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)  have an app, as do a lot of other news agencies.  Looking for a restaurant or cafe?  Urbanspoon will help you find one using GPS and a tool to choose your type of food, location and cost.  See something in a shop you  might like to buy?  Use Amazon (or many other apps) to get a price comparison.  Hear a song somewhere that you want to buy, or can’t work out the title/artist?  Shazam listens to it and gives you the details, plus links to it on YouTube and iTunes.  And these are just some of the useful applications you can have with your internet access.
I also love having a camera on me wherever I go, without having to lug a regular one around.  Sure, the images are not super high quality and there is no flash, but you can get plenty of happy snaps and there are lots of applications you can add to give you cool effects and filters on your photos.  You can post them online immediately, email them to friends, use them as avatars for the people in your address book.
And finally, I love having my music on the very same device.  All sorted nicely, playlists and album details, videos and catalogued.  Lovely!
Wanna hear something freaky?  I was just laying on  my bed faffing about with Google Earth on the iPhone, and it pinpointed not only my exact building, but which part of that building I was in!!  It has GPS in it, and it showed an aerial shot of my building, with a dot over that part of the house.  WOW!  Love this!
So all in all, I’m rather in love with my nifty little gadget, and all the things it can do for me.  Call me a nerd, but technology gives me happies!

May 14, 2009. gadgets, iPhone, organisation, technology. Leave a comment.

Ada Lovelace Day

Today, for those of you who don’t know already, is Ada Lovelace Day.  Who was Ada Lovelace you ask?  Well, she is credited with being the first female programmer.  And in honour of her birth, I have taken a pledge to blog about women in technology today.

Photobucket

As a woman in technology myself, I know it’s not an easy career path to travel.  Long a male dominated profession, we ladies who have chosen to work in technology face a lot of challenges in our every day working lives.  From the challenges of actually obtaining employment in technological careers, through to having to endure being dismissed as “lightweights” by our male colleagues, or spoken to as though we wouldn’t understand.
Quite often we’re told we’re not “technological enough” because we choose the so called softer side of technology to work in.  Those of us who choose to work in roles that deal with people and communication are dismissed as not really working in technology.  Yet with technology permeating so much of our lives now, women (and the men who also choose) are needed to work in communications and the people side of things.  We’re the ones that get people adopting and accepting technology.  We’re the ones who understand why when people don’t pick up technology.
I love working in and with technology.  It fascinates me, challenges me and is always changing, growing and surprising me.  Sometimes I do get frustrated with the environment others create, but I am never bored.  And most of the time, it’s FUN!
Are you a woman in technology?  Do you work with/know women in technology?  Tell me your story about women and technology.

March 24, 2009. Ada Lovelace, blogging, careers, feminism, technology, women. Leave a comment.

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