Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I need a nap

Oh, for fuck's sake, I already had SyncToy installed.

Backing up files now.

I hate technology

Remember how I said I'd be spending my day installing Koha? Yeah.

So I got through a large portion of the install on my Mac. And then I go to the part where you need to reconfigure your root directory. I realized that maybe it would be a good idea to backup my files before I did that, especially since I have never created a backup and my Mac is my main computer now. I currently have an external hard drive hooked up to my PC, so I thought I'd just use that to backup my Mac. But first I should backup the PC.

I turn on the PC and the first thing that happens (after it slooowly boots up) is a message from Microsoft wanting me to install Genuine Windows Advantage. After looking up what it is I decided that I could ignore it easily, since my copy of Windows is legit and it is meant to find pirated software (arrr...). Nope, it kept bugging me to install it, so I did some more reading about the program, got pissed off (DMCA!), looked for workarounds, got frustrated, and then just installed the damn thing.

Then I decided that I needed a backup utility since apparently I haven't backed up my PC since November. I can manually back it up, but a program that would automatically do it for me would be nice and no such thing came with my hard drive. I go looking for that, decide on SyncToy (Microsoft, but I don't really care at this point) and install it. But SyncToy needs the .NET thingy from Microsoft to run. Deep breath. So I find that and go about installing it.

And my computer tells me it's hard drive is full.

I can't install a program to backup the hard drive because the hard drive is full. Deep breath. I bite back a scream and start uninstalling programs that I haven't used in months and probably never will again. Not enough room. I delete old school readings that I don't want to hang onto. Still not enough room. Then I go hunting for the space hogs.

Turns out half of my computer hard drive is taken up with music. Unfortunately, it is a mix of old and new music, since I haven't synced iTunes (manually) between my two computers in ages. I can't just get rid of it, even though I don't listen to music on the PC because I need to replace the sound card. Or the speakers. I'm not sure.

Then I remembered that I need to partition my external HD before doing anything else, since I was going to be using it to backup PC and Mac files. Different file types, you know. Or whatever they're called; I know I need to partition at least. But now I have to re-find the directions to do so.

And my class starts in an hour. Deep breath.

So right now I am looking for the proper way to partition an external hard drive so that it can have both Mac and PC files on it. I haven't finished anything that I set out to complete today. Oh, and SyncToy doesn't do automatic backups anyway, so there's more lost time.

And people trust me to set up an ILS?

Koha-ing the day away

I'm working from home today because I'm not feeling great (nothing serious, just stomach issues) and I'm saving my strength for class this evening. Normally, I'd be at the Family Resiliency Center (warning: really annoying background music) working on setting up their library. But today I'm installing Koha on my Mac so that I can play with settings and then later transfer them to the FRC setup, thereby saving some time to focus on how to catalog their collection instead of poking at Koha the entire time I'm there. They'd like to have everything ready to go by April 25, but I really doubt that's going to happen. Anyway, I need to start keeping better track of what I'm doing in Koha, and my blog is a natural space, so expect more posts about Koha and setting up a brand new library. I'll probably even have some retroactive posts thrown in.

I'm working from this lovely document. Otherwise I would be totally lost.

So many little things to install before I can install Koha: Xtools (which takes up 2.8 GB installed and required me to register myself as a "developer" with Apple and is still installing itself as I type this), MySQL (version 4.1.x, which is old, but actually will work with Koha), and Apache (which was incredibly easy).

At the FRC I had them install Koha (Windows environment on a network) instead of trying to figure it out myself. Better use of time and resources. Although it has taken some work to convince their IT guys that I'm not just setting up a database containing titles and authors. Once again, no one realizes the work that goes into cataloging a collection.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Respect the librarians

Actually, I don't care if you are looking at porn, as long as it isn't near the children's department and you are being somewhat discreet. And you aren't, um...doing anything else. Ah, Madison Public Libraries, I miss you sometimes!

Homeless guy #1: Damn! I just got kicked out of the library! Damn!
Homeless guy #2: What did you do, man?
Homeless guy #1: I don't know. I don't know.
Homeless guy #2: Aren't you drunk?
Homeless guy #1: Well, yeah. Also, I might have been looking at dirty pictures on the computer.
Homeless guy #2: Aw, that's not so bad.
Homeless guy #1: And they said that I was being disrespectful to the librarians.
Homeless guy #2, freaking out: No way, man! You can never, never disrespect the librarians! Always respect librarians! What were you thinking? Are you an idiot?

Outside Boulder Public Library
Boulder, Colorado

Overheard by: Librarian on break

From Overheard in the Office

Let the shopping begin

Finally. Cafe Press has just figured out that maybe, just maybe, it should offer women's plus sized tshirts for those of us who are curvier than the norm. Or are the norm, really. I foresee a shopping spree in the near future.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

So dizzay...

Best. Animal. Video. Ever.

birdfeeder device.

I like squirrels, and I was laughing my ass off.

Those Russian squirrels better watch out...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Damn academic aspirations

Okay, aside from taking a class on the subject, which doesn't seem to be likely anytime soon given the upcoming courses being offered, how the hell do I become a better academic writer? I've never been strong at deciding when and how to cite sources (beyond the obvious technical aspects, I mean) and how much and how deeply to explain a concept to the intended audience. I am great at creating "Reader's Digest" papers and tend to condense everything. I do not "expand" on topics enough, but I am at a loss at finding a balance between writing for someone who hasn't a clue about the subject and writing for an audience that is familiar with the material. I feel like I'm treating my audience like fools if I assume that they know nothing about the subject, which is one writing strategy that I've been told to use. This is something I need to get over.

I've put in a request for one such class: Writing in Library and Information Science. But it is seldom offered, and the request was put in kind of late, so I'm not sure what the possibility of it being offered before I tear all my hair out is going to be. I've got two research papers to write this semester, along with two essay exams, one of which is in-class and closed book. And I'm a little worried, especially since I haven't written a timed essay since 2000. At least with that particular bit of writing I don't have to worry too much about citing, just content and clarity. And I don't have to worry about first drafts, second drafts, etc., since it has to be written in a limited amount of time.

The whole "drafting thing" is a problem too; I usually just "write raw" and get frustrated if I have to keep coming back to something in order to finish it, which is likely a big part of why I have an Incomplete from last semester. I tend to feel like what I write should be perfect straight from my brain and if it requires reworking, then I must just be a horrible writer and a bad student. Sorry, doing a little self-analysis here as well as asking for advice.

So why all this agony? Well, I'm going to working towards a Certificate in Special Collections starting this summer, and since the two courses I'm taking are condensed, (10 class meetings, in the space of two weeks), I know it is going to require a lot of focused writing. Scary! And now I'm looking at a possible CAS, which isn't a very solid consideration at the moment, but still. And then there's the whole future issue of working in an academic setting, which might require publishing, or even if I worked in a different type of library, there are projects that happen, grants to be written, conferences to present at...

Excuse my ego here for a moment. I'm intelligent. Very intelligent, according to the tests and other evidence. That isn't the problem. However, focusing on writing and other school project stuff is an issue. When I was an art student, I could lose myself for hours drawing one item, getting into a flow state. The same thing happens when I am reading something very engaging. Time just slips away and before I know it my stomach is screaming at me for food and the sun has gone down. Is the problem that I'm not enjoying what I'm doing? Or that I feel I shouldn't be enjoying it because it is school-related and I'm getting a grade on it? Or are there other underlying issues? I'm floating through Grad School at the moment, absorbing little and getting A grades without trying hard. Wasn't much of an issue as an Undergrad (well, it was an issue for my professor-husband, but he doesn't count any longer), but this is what I want to do as a career and I really need to shift gears.

If I carried over the credits which I earned while I was a staff member and had them applied to my Master's, I could graduate at the end of this summer. But I am very much not ready to go back to the "real world," although having money again would be nice. I don't feel prepared to have a job interview, I don't feel like I have a specialty or am particularly good at anything in my chosen field. I'm attending the best Library School in the country, but it doesn't mean much when I'm not using the tools and opportunities given to me.

Now how the hell do I make everything better? I'm reading a great book about writing, but it is geared towards fiction and autobiographies, not academic writing. The advice on focusing and pushing through when you think you can't write any further is valuable, though. But reading books is only going to take me so far, I realize.

Beyond writing, I need to make a huge change in the way I approach academics. And that is worrying me.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Another cataloger burns out...

The Onion

Dewey Decimal System Helpless To Categorize New Jim Belushi Book

DUBLIN, OH-Members of the OCLC Online Computer Library Center's Editorial Policy Committee, which oversees the Dewey Decimal System library...

I'm feeling a little bit this way myself. Why do I always choose "challenging" things to catalog for my assignments? Back to Advanced Cataloging homework.