OpenCon2017 will be in Germany!

I want to use this post to boost a signal. OpenCon 2017 will be in Germany this year! Despite how many librarians care for and participate in Open in some form, very few were represented at the last conference. So, I’d like to encourage more librarian voices by increasing visibility a bit.  I wrote about my experience at OpenCon2016, which you can read here and here. Here is a small blurb from them.

OpenCon is more than a conference. It’s a platform for the next generation to learn about Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data, develop critical skills, and catalyze action toward a more open system for sharing the world’s information—from scholarly and scientific research, to educational materials, to digital research data. OpenCon 2017 is at the center of a growing community of thousands of students and early career academic professionals from across the world working to create an open system for research and education.

Applications to attend OpenCon 2017 in Berlin, Germany will open on June 27th.

I really suggest you keep your eye on the event and apply to attend.Applications will be opening soon. You can sign up for updates or get involved now by joining the community. The community is active, the projects are incredible, and the ability to link globally is powerful. It is a great experience, and if you cannot attend in person, you should look into checking in live online. Need more convincing, here are the videos from last years conference. Of if you want, browse the highlights.

Cas 1 – 0 Google Script

Cas 1 – 0 Google Script

Sometimes you have to step away from a problem to better be able to tackle it. I have been wrestling with my google apps script for weeks. After that last post, I put it away for a bit, but apparently not long enough. I had a goal: create a form using Google Apps Script that uploaded files and the recorded the information submitted. Seems simple enough.

It wasn’t.

But the difficulty was my fault, not the code. My brain didn’t formulate the problem the way I phrased it above. My brain had already decided how we were going to solve the problem. So I spent weeks playing with the code so that I had a form that uploaded a file to Google Drive, imported information into a Google Sheet, and sent an email that there was a new submission.

Are your eyes rolling yet? Continue reading “Cas 1 – 0 Google Script”

Nightmare on GoogleApps Script

Nightmare on GoogleApps Script

If it isn’t obvious by now, I often take projects that force me to learn new things. This was not one of those times. As part of some committee work, I agreed to help build a form for member submissions to a social media platforms run by the organization (e.g. submit your twitter or blog post here!).

It seemed straight forward, until I realized Google Forms doesn’t have an upload option on the free version. Ok. So I went on to search other options. I found that many people used a combo of Google’s Drive and GoogleApps Script to code a Google Forms-esque upload form. I copied the code to my personal drive, and womp! It would not run, even in its initial iteration. I would just get a blank screen.

To be completely honest with everyone, I’m still not completely sure why the code would not work for me. I was sure it was an ID10-T user error, but after sending my sysadmin friend a video of what I was doing, he was stumped as well. It was working for him. He could run it with no issues, and it seemed like I was doing all the same things he was doing. After about an hour of tinkering, which left me with a deep desire to flip my desk, I closed the window to revisit later.

Later has not quite come yet; I started this project only four days ago. This post is a testament that using tech is never all success without complication. It’s completely ok to fail or hit a set-back. This is why you start things a month before they are due (take that procrastination brain). I’m jumping back into it today, hopefully. Expect a follow-up post once I get the code to submit, but for now, happy tinkering!

-Cas

Digital Trust

I just bought a new house. New house + new job = late blog post. For that, I’m TERRIBLY sorry. On the positive side, I had a very interesting conversation today, which has inspired this post. A gentleman named Jeffrey Ritter, a professor at Oxford and self-proclaimed digital information expert, came by my reference desk, as everyone does, looking for resources. While we talked about various things, the thing I thought would be great for this post was the idea of achieving digital trust.*

The idea centers around overcoming the initial skepticism around any new technology. How do you get business men to trust a fax of a signed document? How do you get lawyers and courts to accept e-signatures and e-filing? Obviously we have moved passed the skepticism on these issues, but emerging technology always faces that initial wall of skepticism before people will accept it as reliable.

This is different from Malcolm Gladwell‘s tipping point, which is more about predicting wide spread adoption than trust. However, achieving digital trust can necessary for a new innovation to pass the tipping point. I cannot say I know the answer or that I have a complete grasp on the issue. Our conversation was not that long or that in depth. What I can say is that I’m curious. I want to explore this idea. I want to learn more. I wanted to share this new, at least to me, topic of interest, because if you’re reading this blog, you might find it interesting as well.

What are your thoughts?

-Cas

*He wrote a book on this. I’m not writing this blog as a plug, so if you are interested, you can do a quick google search and look more into him and his book.

Keep it private

Keep it private

As part of starting my new job, I had to set up my new computer. Doing this always reminds me of the things I take for granted. The set up of my desktop, the icons pinned to my taskbar, and the extensions on my browser. However, the shake up in my complacency also made me reevaluate what privacy measures I’m taking. I did some research, and while not a ton has changed, there are some new developments. So, for this short post, I give you a annotated list of privacy extensions, apps, and programs you should know about if you don’t already.

Privacy badger – A browser extension created by EFF that blocks third party cookies.

HTTPS: Everywhere – Another browser extension created by the good folks at EFF. This one makes sure that your communication with major sites is encrypted using https regardless of whether the site defaults to http. Continue reading “Keep it private”

OpenCon 2016: Part Two

The last major focus for OpenCon was Open Education. Open education is about opening lecture notes, assignments, and creating and using open textbooks. With dwindling budgets, states scrambling to find qualified teachers in an ever dwindling pool, and teachers burning out on a daily basis, open education should have a brighter spotlight. Using open textbooks can save schools and college students a great deal of money. Open lecture notes and assignments helps often overworked teachers and new teachers save time by not having to build each class from scratch and lessening preparation time at home.  Continue reading “OpenCon 2016: Part Two”

OpenCon 2016: Part One

OpenCon 2016: Part One

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending OpenCon thanks to a gracious sponsorship from my institution, the University of Arizona. What is OpenCon? It is a small three-day conference of researchers, entrepreneurs, librarians, and others, where attendees learn about open access, open data, and open education through a series of keynotes, panels, and workshops (called unconference sessions) that finalizes in a day of advocacy. That sentence makes it seem like an overwhelming amount of information to pack into a short few days, and it was. It would make for a very long post, so I’m going to spread the information over two posts.  Continue reading “OpenCon 2016: Part One”

Audacity

I have heard of Audacity in passing on many occasions, but the idea of editing audio files was intimidating. Audacity is a powerful tool; it can cut segments, move them around, and add effects. I just envisioned that the program would be geared at music producers, and I am not that. Thankfully, Audacity is much friendlier than I first believed. It is a well designed program that has carved out it’s place in the heart of podcasters and newbie audio editors like myself. Best of all, it is FREE.

When I was applying for the Wiley Scholarship for Early Career Librarians,* I decided to take the opportunity to learn new software. The application required the entrant conduct an interview and present it in an interesting fashion. I wanted to make a whiteboard presentation; so I learned and used Videoscribe.

After the interview was conducted, I reviewed the recording. What I was not prepared for was how much I the audio needed to be edited for a smooth presentation. It had great content, but certain pauses made it a bit boring to listen too. So I caved and downloaded Audacity. It was simple enough that I was able to teach myself the things I needed, and I’ll share some tips I learned to help you on your first time. Continue reading “Audacity”

Low-tech intermission

Our lightning posts are finished, so we will be resuming our regular schedule of the 1st and 15th for posts. With all this tech talk, we’re going to take a break. I’ll be talking about my pen and paper method for staying organized, which is inspired by the bullet journal. I know. I know. You’ve probably seen a million unrealistic instagram photos on the ‘bujo.’ It can be a bit intimidating for those of us without artistic talent, of which I have ZERO. I take a much simpler approach. Continue reading “Low-tech intermission”

Kahoot!

Kahoot!

Kahoot is a free web based interactive quiz creation platform. It allows you to build your own quiz, project it to a room, and have the audience provide answers. You can choose to give the participants points for right answers, like in trivia night. Or you can use it to survey the room, no  points, no leader board. I have to say I’m not a big fan, mainly because of you can’t customize the way it looks. The primary color scheme and overly playful design makes it less that ideal as a teaching tool in university and higher level classes.However, if you have a more playful event, or are teaching to young kids this tool may be ideal for you. You can play with Kahoot and see if it will work for you here.

Screenshot of the preview mode
Screenshot of the preview mode

-Cas