Category Archives: Apple & Mac

“It always has content I care about.” Flipboard for iPad Personal Magazine

I downloaded the app but trying to add my accounts yields a “server busy” message. Must be a lot of folks trying to get set up. I’m intrigued by this though and look forward to plating with it. Can you imagine where this might lead? Not only can individuals have a social magazine constantly updating at their fingertips, but groups could someday have tailor made versions of Flipboard for their own content – think a class of students or a certain community. Then, add in channels of content supplied by libraries – local info, user-generated digital collections and news. Wow. I’ll wait a bit and keep trying.

The iPad (through the eyes of a teen)

(a brief interview between Portland Public Teen Library @justinlibrarian and Portland teen @davidchuphoto)

What are you using it for?
I’m usually sitting in bed and using it as a computer instead of a laptop.  I would go back to a laptop if I got a MacBook.
What are your favorite apps?
Twitter, ABC Player, Doodle Jump, Tap Tap Revenge 3, Safari
What would you like to see the library do with Ipads?
Libraries should lend them out as ebook readers or portable computers and people could read them in the teen lounge.  People could be more relaxed with the iPad in the library.
Do you use it in school?  For what?
I replaced my school netbook with the iPad.  I use it for notes, create slideshows, and look up things on the internet.
Do a lot of teens have iPads?
I only know one other teen with an IPad.
If not, do a lot of teens want iPads?
At first, they did (especially at school).  If I use it outside, people passing me on the street ask me about it quite a bit.
How much do you read on the iPad?
I read a lot of articles on the internet.  Ebooks?  Not so much.  I haven’t purchased any ebooks.  I’ve  just downloaded public domain books.  I haven’t bought any ebooks because I don’t have enough money and I don’t have much interest in them.
What would you like to see the iPad of the future do?
Take pictures, a higher resolution, more storage on the base model (32gb as the first model!), and multi-tasking.
If a teen were interested in the iPad, would you tell them to get one now or wait and why?
I’d tell them to wait because I think the next one will be better.  iPhone 4 already makes the iPad obsolete.

-Post by Justin Hoenke, Tame the Web Contributor

First Thoughts on the iPad from 2 Michaels and a Phil

I think a lot of us monitored the chatter or tuned into a faltering U-Stream yesterday to hear Apple’s announcement of the iPad. ( I think I was a bit more fond of iSlate or just “Slate” myself) But now the fact-finding, opinion sharing and general “what will it mean for consumers?” begins – as will all of the “what will it mean for libraries” conjecture.

Phil Bradley, across the pond, weighed in this morning:

I’m really keen on the idea of using it as an e-Book reader. It’s the first item that I’ve looked at which actually makes me think I’d really actively enjoy reading from it. Again, I can read from the iPhone, and this is going to be a better experience. Not so keen that the iBookstore is US only at the moment – until I can buy a book there and then, download it and just start reading, I’m not going to be buying one. That for me IS a deal breaker. I want to go onto a site, choose a book that’s been published today, download it and start reading there and then. Download the morning newspaper? Grab my favourite magazine – absolute requirements for me.

Is this going to kill the Kindle? I think it will, yes – at least if the Kindle stays in its current incarnation. Simply can’t see the value in buying one, certainly not on price comparisons.

Price. £450 or thereabouts for the largest size wifi (without 3G) is going to be fine by me. I don’t need instant connectivity to the net – I have a laptop/dongle and iPhone combination for that. Though the idea of running around with iPhone, iPad and laptop and dongle and any iPad peripherals is not a great idea. I suspect that I’d use it at home on my wifi, download what I need, power it up and be on my way. We don’t yet know about dataplans in the UK, but I doubt I’ll be tempted, unless my provider is intelligent enough to work out a dataplan that includes the iPhone.

There’s a lot of interest in the use of the thing in academia already – just try a twitter search and see what I mean. On a tangent – I wonder how long it’s going to be before someone publishes the Harry Potter ‘Daily Prophet’ onto it.

I’ve been pondering myself how it will fit into my digital lifestyle: Will it mean packing laptop, iPhone & iPad to travel? Will it replace many of the media duties assigned to my laptop when I’m in my TV-less spot in Oak Park? Can I travel with the iPad and run Keynote presentations without a worry?

Also, I’ve held off buying a Kindle to see what Apple was going to do. The slides from yesterday’s talk make the experience of e-books attractive and the video at is certainly alluring. I love the idea of the iPad being my media device but still pondering.

Take a look at Michael Casey’s “Wish List” for the tablet he published on Tuesday. As happens more often than not, our opinions are in sync as is our wants. Sadly, some were not included – yet:

  • Amazon owns Audible. Audible is the best provider of audio books. Sorry Overdrive, but it’s true. Audible’s audio books could sync with Amazon’s ebooks and allow the user to switch seamlessly between reading and listening. A lot of people I know like to do this, and making it seemless would attract a new style of reader.
  • Strike a deal with Netflix to allow Netflix subscribers to easily view content on the new Tablet. Yes, Amazon’s on demand video content is good, but Apple needs greater depth and video downloads via iTunes are slow and expensive. The Netflix subscription model of streaming is a much better developed service.
  • Subsidize the cellular connectivity just like Amazon does for the Kindle. Leo Laporte has been arguing this for a long time and I have to agree. Base cellular service needs to be included in the package, even if it’s just for content download and streaming and does not include browsing or email.
  • Offer a web browser and the same quality email interface found on the iPhone. A web browser and email require ever-present connectivity. This may need to be an extra-cost service but a Tablet without the option for web browsing or email will fail. The two cheaper Kindles can get away with not providing email, but the Tablet can’t. One option here is to allow tethering to the iPhone so users don’t have to pay for two monthly data plans.
  • Don’t build Flash into the browser. Force developers to keep moving towards HTML5.
  • A forward facing webcam would allow the type of collaboration iPhone users have been wanting for a long time.

The discussions Phil pointed to about educational/academic use of the tech are the most intriguing to me, given my current, post-EDUCAUSE LI mindset – what would a classroom full of these things look like? What would the experience be to teach & learn via rich-media text books, the Web, etc? Could I design a course experience based on all of my students having the iPad:  an “app” or streamlined HTML5  version of my WPMU/BP sites developed with Kyle Jones?

These things are true:

A brave, forward thinking university will jump on this in the coming months experimenting with ways to bring apps, connectivity and interaction inside the classroom experience and outside as well.

A brave, forward thinking library will do the same experimentation – possibly loaning the device, utilizing them in training, making them available for use in the library or incorporating them into on the go reference and service interactions. x

AND  a whole bunch of technologists/bloggers/podcasters/ etc will spend the next 60-90 days discussing the feature set, possible value and bright or dismal future of the iPad. Game changer?  I knew the iPhone was in 2007. For this, the verdict has yet to come in.


David Pogue:

“My main message to fanboys is this: it’s too early to draw any conclusions. Apple hasn’t given the thing to any reviewers yet, there are no iPad-only apps yet (there will be), the e-bookstore hasn’t gone online yet, and so on. So hyperventilating is not yet the appropriate reaction.”

Assistance with Mac Digital Media Lab?

Bjorn Jones wrote me an email and I thought it would be best to share it withh TTW readers in case someone can help him out.

I’m Bjorn.  I just started my first job as a public librarian for the city of Salinas, California.

My first day on the job I was assigned the task of launching a new Mac digital arts lab.  Our new Mac computers are loaded with software for creating digital media.  My library’s goal is to connect the community with the media creation tools now available on our new Mac computers.

This is a HUGE undertaking that would be a challenge for even an expert in marketing, networking and digital technology.  Presently, these are ALL areas in which I have limited experience.  This is precisely the reason why I am going beyond my regular network and asking for your help.

Do you know:

1) A specific library that uses a Mac computer lab for creating digital media?

2) An individual at such a library I might contact regarding questions I have about achieving success with our goals?

If you are working with Mac labs, shoot Bjorn Jones an email at bjornthelibrarian (at) And check out his blog at

McMaster Macs Coming Soon!

This September, McMaster Libraries will be introducing Apple computers in the public areas in both Thode and Mills Libraries. Come September, you’ll find a sea of brand new machines, including iMacs, Mac Pros and Apple laptops.

Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the Apple operating system. All of these stations will be dual boot, which means you’ll be able to start them up and run either the Apple or Windows operating system.

The integration of Apple computers at the libraries allows for greater flexibility and a wider range of software choices. In addition, it gives library users a choice about which operating system they would prefer to use.

Thode Library will have the following mix of machines available on the newly renovated first floor:

  • 12 Mac Pros with 30? screens for multimedia functions
  • 38 iMacs
  • 30 laptops
  • Nice! 

    iTunes sells 5 Billion Songs

    Apple on Thursday announced that more than five billion songs have been purchased and downloaded from its iTunes Store.

    According to NPD MusicWatch figures, the iTunes Store is the number one music retailer in the U.S.; Apple also says that the iTunes Store is the most popular online movie store in the world, with people renting and buying more than 50,000 movies every day.

    File this under “What to do about the AV department.”

    MobileMe & the Cloud

    I was a little disappointed with the Apple news today. I was honestly expecting a 32gb iPhone. I like the idea of 3G, but right now Mishawaka and Traverse City are not part of ATT’s 3G areas.

    I am very interested, however, in the Apps for iPhone and MobileMe. MobileMe is the next incarnation of .Mac, which started as iTools back in the day. I’ve subscribed to .Mac since 2000!

    MacWorld reports:

    Thanks to MobilMe’s AJAX-enabled interface, users will have a similar experience using the Web applications as they do with desktop software. For example, you can drag and drop calendar events to move then as in iCal and narrow down contacts as you type as in Address Book. The e-mail software also works a lot like Mail, letting you drag messages into folders to file them away, and includes a quick reply feature that pops up a box to input and send your reply to a message.

    MobileMe also offers online storage for photos, documents, and files. The .Mac Web Gallery has been incorporated, and you can e-mail photos directly from an iPhone. You can also move photos around just like you can in iPhoto. iDisk also gains a Web interface, from which you can e-mail links for users to download files directly from the Web rather than including them as e-mail attachments.

    I was very happy to see Merlin Mann’s post today about MobileMe. I follow him on MacBreak Weekly and at his sites and have been intrigued by his take on localized computing and the future great Cloud of data. He writes:

    As someone who’s had strong feelings, high hopes, and occasional disappointmens with .Mac, I’m going to spend some time over the next few weeks looking into what these changes will mean for the always-on knowledge worker — particularly now that the service is clearly moving toward tighter integration with iPhones, the iPod Touch, and web-based usage. But first, just a few things to note here (quickly and on first impression):

    • Lovely tweaks – This is where Apple just obliterates the competition; all the tiny little changes we saw to GUI and workflow on the MobileMe web apps and related iPhone apps reflect a lot of thought and look well-suited for real-world usage. I can’t wait to see the improvements to iPhone’s Calendar and Contacts, in particular. Kudos, team. An iPhone that makes MobileMe easy and transparent to use is a big win all around. (N.B.: as you might expect, Apple’s site has many lovely demonstration videos in their MobileMe section)
    • Love the “Push” – No longer having to physically plug in your iPhone to sync stuff like Mail, Calendar, and Contacts is terrific for the multiple-device user. Knowing that (at least as long as you’re online) everything matches up just means big peace of mind to me. Maybe most importantly, one hopes that the new Push approach addresses some of the previous sync problems that have plagued .Mac users (Nuclear reset, anyone?).
    • Love the (baby) steps toward true cloud computing – Having such gorgeous and functional apps on the iPhone is a big step in the right direction. How the services that those apps access evolve will be interesting to watch; adding something like broader support for Preferences syncing and better/easier iPhone password management would also be big wins.
    What I’ve heard Mann ponder on the podcasts is the eventual cloud of all of your data – safely stored in the cloud, that you can access anywhere – with any number of devices. Your documents. Your photos. Your music. Anywhere.
    It will be interesting to see how libraries explore MobileMe and the eventual cloud – in whatever form or shape it eventually takes on.

    Why ‘no Macs’ is no longer a defensible IT strategy

    “We’re seeing more requests outside of creative services to switch to Macs from PCs,” notes David Plavin, operations manager for Mac systems engineering at the U.S. IT division of Publicis Groupe, a global advertising conglomerate. There are so many requests that Plavin now supports 2,500 Macs across the U.S. — nearly a quarter of all Publicis’ U.S. PCs.

    Dominican now supports faculty requesting either a Mac or PC for their offices. And anecdotally I heard that 40% of our incoming students university wide have Macs. :-)

    Put Virtual Reference in the User’s Pocket

    Some say that IM is on the verge of extinction and that forging into such territory for virtual reference so late in the game is a waste of a library’s energy. You can surely count me as one of those who agrees with that statement. I predict, as do many others, that virtual reference needs to fit in users’ pockets – in their cell phone.

    We need to look at the trends happening now (according to PEW, 2006):
    -47% can’t live without their cell phones
    -35% use SMS and 13% would like it added to their features
    The preceding stats were from the general respondents. Look at what the younger population (18-29) has to say:
    -65% use their cells for SMS
    -36% want their IMs to be forwarded to their cell
    -40% would give up their landline completely for a cell (Note: I’ve done this already)
    -56% want access to mobile maps and directions (could we include this into a broader grouping such as “want for general information?”)

    Some of us look at our phones and say “jeez, it’s just a phone.” I personally don’t do text messaging because it hasn’t become a part of my communication habits (as an aside, my director jokingly put that I must be “old” seeing that I usually fit in with the tech habits of digital natives). Others see the phone as something greater than what Alexander Bell once did. Obviously, the PEW stats indicate such – the phone is more than a phone – and I’d venture to guess that those stats have risen dramatically over the past two years.

    Let’s not stop here, shall we? These are statistical trends, but there other trends, observational trends, that we simply can’t ignore.

    Walk into your local Verizon wireless store or AT&T and look at what they offer. More and more these big name cellular companies are introducing Smart Phones (phones with applications, advanced hardware, WiFi access, cameras, and more). These are what’s wanted and what’s needed (by some). Take a look at what the Mobile World Congress introduced this week. More Smart Phones. More technology. More features.

    It’s safe to say that Apple knew this a year ago. So what did Apple do even though they knew cell phone users wanted more features (applications specifically)? Apple basically said “you don’t need more applications than what we give you – just be happy.” The couldn’t have been further from the truth. No one was angered more than the high tech iPhone users when they were limited by Apple to its default application settings. These high-end users wanted a software developers kit (SDK) to create more applications and they wanted it that instant. Apple is the whipping boy here – other phone companies have gotten the same treatment.

    Finally, Apple was forced to see the light and said “fine, go build your applications – sheesh.”

    Guess what. Over 70 applications that provide information services have been created. Nearly 900 total applications have been developed across all categories. Is your library one of them?

    We can’t deny the trends. But we can and should adapt our virtual reference services to forge into the cell phone world. Adapt SMS reference, create mobile applications to search the OPAC and federated search tools, and – the biggest one of all – develop your website so it’s viewable on a cell phone or other mobile device.

    I’d bet my MacBook Pro that this is the future of virtual reference (and that’s saying something!).

    TTW Contributor – Kyle Jones