Mac Migration

After 5.5 years, I was upgraded to a new Mac at work. The old Mac tower is still serviceable, but it was struggling to process video footage while also allowing me to run Tweetdeck and Google Chrome for other tasks. The new Mac arrived about a month ago and it took till today to get everything transitioned over to the new iMac.

Digital Signage
The biggest hang up was the licensing for the software which runs our digital signage. I was running an older version on my old Mac which worked very well. However, the company doesn’t support that version for OS X Sierra, so an upgraded was needed. In order to do that, my old Mac had to be upgraded two versions, then have the licenses transferred to the cloud. I then had to contact the company so they would then release the licenses to be accessed via the new Mac. Our system admin then took care of doing the double upgrades + OS X upgrade on the six player machines. I spoke with customer service twice during this process. At least a dozen support emails went back and forth.

Font Incompatible
With that in place and having copied all my remaining items off the old computer, I made the leap today to the new machine. Immediately I ran into a problem: the font we use for our branding doesn’t work with the iWorks software. Over on, I had to sign in, contact support via chat, they called me, I was put on hold three times, and then finally a nice guy named Nick picked up. He remote viewed into my machine to see the problem for himself. After several checks verifying the problem, he told me that yes, the font just isn’t compatible.

What I was seeing is that every time I hit a hard return in Pages or Keynote, a quote mark would show up at the end of the line. The guy recommended that I contact the font company for support on getting a Mac-compatible version of the font. I had used this font for 5.5 years on the old Mac. I’ve found an open source alternative which I’m using in the meanwhile while waiting on further instruction from my boss.

Google Chrome
Trusty ol’ Google Chrome also failed too. I know on other devices that if I log the browser in, everything will cross-populate over to the new system. That did not happen here. I ended up using a separate extension to backup all my tabs and then move them over to the new machine.

Our system admin wound up on the floor helping me pull out cords as we tried to figure out why my PC’s monitor suddenly stopped working too during the transition. When I had to leave to get on desk, he was still tugging at cords. When I returned an hour later, the monitor was on.

Overall, this process has been quite exhausting!

Using information skills and technology with the rural poor

This article is from a selection that I wrote for a job application.

My family background is that I grew up below the federal poverty line. I am a first generation high school/college/graduate student.

[…] the information skills I have developed have been put to use recently with the death of my grandfather. A final request of my grandfather’s was for me to find his siblings whom he had lost contact with over the years. Due to a mix of poverty, a lack of education, and fear of technology, my relatives had lost contact with each other over the years. I was able to assist in locating family members via my knowledge of people search engines and knowing how to research newspaper databases. Next, my grandmother was nearly tricked into paying extortive fees to scan some photos of my grandpa for his funeral’s slideshow. I managed to intervene and digitized the photos for her. By this act, my uncle-in-law realized that the family’s photographs could be shared by digitization and since then, he has begun the process in order to share family photos with our newfound relatives. I have provided training assistance and best practice tips to him.

While scanning photos for my grandmother, she was unable to recall the name of her maternal grandmother. I used my Internet-enabled cellphone to do the genealogy research to find the name for her. This eased my grandmother’s embarrassment and shame of having forgotten something that she once knew by heart. I was also able to share photos and a video from my recent and final visit with my grandfather that I had taken on my cellphone with my grandfather’s lost long sister. She had not made it in time to see her brother in life, but she could see his broad smile from the week before his death. My final contribution was to research property deeds from the counties my grandparents lived in while trying to find out if there was any property that was still in his name.

Therefore my education and skills were experiences that were put into heavy demonstration this week while assisting my poverty-ridden family. It became clear to me that one underrepresented community is people who lack the knowledge that technology even exists that can solve problems that they thought unsurmountable. Popular media presents a picture of American society that is overridden with the latest tech toys where everyone is on the Internet, has disposable income and an education. However, this is simply not true in the southern Appalachian Mountains where I grew up. This particular community is suspicious of outsiders and is unfamiliar with the opportunities that can be found in a library.

However, the younger generations are just beginning to find exposure to the outside world. For example, my young cousin’s school is pioneering laptops in the classroom. When she brings that computer home, her siblings and parents are being introduced to people and places beyond their experiences. I was fortunate enough to meet middle class classmates who invited me to their homes which made me realize that not everyone grew up living hand to mouth. This technology in the hands of my cousin will provide a similar glimpse of a world outside of poverty and therefore might very well inspire them to also go to college someday in order to end the cycle of poverty. So, while my activities this week might start off as a novelty, I hope it spreads like wildfire. These people are underrepresented and libraries need to build collections that appeal to their basic interests like using resources to find their family members, how to share family treasures, and learning basic technology skills to prevent them being taken advantage of by more savvy technology users.

What an e-reader should be

A great article by R. David Lankes discussing what e-readers should be like.

As for myself, I’ve never had the opportunity to personally handle one—and time is too short right now to do much free grazing reading as I try to force nonfiction works into my grad school life—but I think they’re a fascinating concept. Actually, before I bought my netbook, I was evaluating the idea of purchasing an e-reader instead. However, what I wanted out of an e-reader fell short of my needs, so I went with the netbook instead. I’m glad I did. So here is my list of what I would want out of an e-reader:

1) Color screen.
2) Connect to the internet by wireless technology.
3) Play music gently in the background while I read.
4) Let’s me take notes and have a way of sharing them.
5) The absolutely free choice of deciding how to put books, no matter their format, on my device without being hampered or fear of them being remotely deleted.
6) A comfortable design that frees my wrist up so I don’t get cramps from holding the screen.
7) Amazing battery life that recharges quickly.
8) The ability to send emails and instant message with others (just because I’m reading doesn’t mean it has to be a solitary activity).
9) Completely scratch resistant
10) Maybe the page navigation would be on the backside so I can run my finger up and down the page without having to use my other hand.
11) Expandable memory storage through a micro SD card.

What are your list of must-haves before you would buy an e-reader?