Category Archives: Fun

Fun stuff for libraryland!

iBraryGuy’s eReader Poll – Have your say!

The bad news just keeps piling up for that venerable, big-box purveyor of print – Barnes & Noble.  We have been hearing for quite some time about the chain’s falling sales and revenue figures.  Now, the news is reporting on layoffs and funding cuts to its Nook eReader division.  Et tu, dear Nook? Continue reading

Imagine that! Getty makes millions of photos freely available

In a surprise move that will empower bloggers, Getty Images has made over 35 million of their archived photo images freely available for non-commercial, online use.  The Getty archives contain some of the most notable photographs ever taken.  From the whimsical image of Albert Einstein sticking out his toungue for the photgrapher to the heart-wrenching smoke trails that remained in the sky following the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986, Getty Images has opened a vast collection of poignant and intriguing snapshots the capture the best and the worst of the human experience. Continue reading

There’s an App for that!?!—California’s Child Support Calculator

Of the many apps in the West/Thomson Reuters oeuvre, there exists the CFLR DissoMaster. What does this app do? Co-produced by CFLR and the Rutter Group, this app’s sole purpose is to calculate child support in California. Yes, child support strictly in California.

Child support calculation in California follows a statewide, uniform equation that starts at Family Code section 4050. The equation, of course, is extremely complex and contains a slew of criteria; programming software to automate this is reasonable enough. And notably, the iPad-based CFLR DissoMaster isn’t the only software designed to satisfy this niche. There are more robust, desktop-centered products. CFLR features its own desktop-based DissoMaster Suite ($540) to face off against the competition’s Xspouse ($299).

Again, the CFLR DissoMaster is iPad-based, and is not available on the iPhone. Users are led through a questionnaire, where they divulge income-related data on a line-by-line basis; robust help, including statute-info, caselaw, and Rutter edited content is available for each line. The completed report can be e-mailed or printed.

Presumably divorce/Family Law is big business in California—how big is a little hard to say. The National Center for Health Statistics compiles and reports on state divorce rates; though, since 2009, California is one of a handful of nonreporting states. The state had 232,719 divorces in 2008, 237,059 divorces in 2007, and 238,011 divorces in 2006.  Judging by the existence of this app, business must be good.

iBraryGuy talks Work-Life Balance for SLA Illinois!

Join the Illinois Chapter of SLA and @iBraryGuy for …

In the Balance: Tools to Increase Your Personal & Professional Productivity

Work, work, work… Most of us do it to live. Sadly, an increasing number of us also feel like it is all we live to do. But is it a sign of the times or more indicative of our own inability to effectively balance our work and our lives? Work is certainly a big part of our lives and we should enjoy and be good at what we do. But there is so much more to life than shifts, time clocks, bosses and pay checks. Separating our lives from our jobs is a form of art and one of the keys to real well-being.

Join iBraryGuy and librarian John DiGilio for an exploration of hot new tools that can make you more productive both personally and professionally. These are tools that can help you find your balance and increase your overall well-being and happiness. The same technology that makes you a superstar at the office can be used to make you shine at home. Come check out some cool sites and fun apps and strike your own balance for the better.

SLA Members: $15
Non Members: $25
Students and Unemployed Members: Compliments of SLA Illinois

Register here: August 28 Webinar Registration

Site of the Week: TaskRabbit gets it done!

When you need help getting something done, finding reliable assistance can be a real problem.  You can ask family and friends.  But how many of us have been let down by the well-intentioned?  You can hire through a professional services provider.  But that can be expensive.  Yes, you can also post something on a basic internet bulletin board.  But how can you be sure the folks answering your ads are safe and trustworthy?  With everything that could wrong, there is some real credence to the notion that you are better off doing things yourself.  Luckily, you do not have to, thanks to the folks at TaskRabbit.

TaskRabbit is a site that let’s you get the help you need from safe, reliable, vetted individuals. No task is too small or too silly.  You post what you need done and how much you are willing to pay and the site’s corps of “TaskRabbits” will literally bid to do your bidding.  And just who are these folks, you might be wondering.  Well, according to the site:

Every TaskRabbit goes through our application process, which includes a video screening and a multilayered background check.

TaskRabbits and TaskPosters use their real identities online, so everyone knows who they’re dealing with. TaskRabbits are also reviewed and rated on the Tasks they complete, so it’s easy to ensure that good TaskRabbits are always busy.

We recently used TaskRabbit to get help moving some heavy items of furniture.  They guys who took the job were friendly, came prepared, and were very enthusiastic about their work with the site.  It was an amazing experience to say the least.

There are even smartphone apps that let you post tasks while you are on the go.  Can it get any easier?

Google’s Recipe View a Delicious Idea!

As a foodie and home chef, I am almost ashamed to say that I have stopped buying cookbooks.  I used to love and treasure them.  But with so many recipes available online these days, it almost seems a waste to spend the money.  Of course, some are indispensable and I have my favorites with which I will never part (I may have my vegan slow cooker book cremated with me when I go!).  But for the most part, I can find almost any recipe I want these days on the internet.  Thanks to Google’s new Recipe View, recipe searches just got even easier!  Mon Deiu, what would Madame Child say?

Using the new Recipe View is easy-peasy and the functionality works like butter.  [Yes, we are having a good time with this one!]  Simply run a Google search for a recipe name or ingredients.  When you get your list of results, simply go to the left-hand side of the screen and choose “Recipes”.  When you click, your list is culled to only those results that are actually recipes.  Want to refine your search further by focusing on specific ingredients, cook times, or calories?  You can!  Just go back to the left side of the window and use one of the new filters that has appeared.  It is easier than boiling water!

You can read more about Google’s new Recipe View here.  Now get cooking!

Need to find a book? CoverCake takes the cake!

Have you ever found yourself trying to remember the name of a book you have seen on a TV show or maybe heard about on a radio program?  You can rack you brain trying to recall it.  Sometimes a web search can help.  But more often than not, it is enough to drive a person mad.  Well, hold onto your sanity and let CoverCake do the remembering for you!

CoverCake is a truly sweet idea – a comprehensive, online database of books mentioned in the popular media.  Whether the title was featured on television, the radio, or a popular blog,  chances are good you will find it here.  Not only can you find books, but you can buy them too! 

It is sooo easy to use.  Simply choose your favorite TV show, radio program or blog from the tabs on the main CoverCake page.  Once you do that, you are given the list of featured books.   If you see a book you like, just click on it.  CoverCake takes you to an overview page that not only tells you about the book, but also provides links to check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google and even local libraries.  There are instructions also for those looking for instant gratification for their eReaders.  It’s pretty cool!

CoverCake is expanding its database constantly.  The are also increasing the ways in which users can discover books.  Take a look at those tabs again.  You can browse books from best seller lists, book clubs, and even awards lists.  It’s fast and it’s fun.  They have even released an iPad app to enhance the experience.  What? No iPad?  Fret not!  The company says that eReader versions are on the way!

Etipedia: Get Your Manners On!

Is it a faux pas to bring your own dessert to Aunt Pearl’s Thanksgiving feast?  What about calling in advance to let her know that your new love interest is coming to dinner and is a vegetarian?  After all, nothing is worse that having to break bread with an unhappy host – especially when it was something you did that made them a Scrooge.  Luckily, you have an online ally to help make the season bright.  The Etipedia is “etiquette’s home on the web!”

Thanks to the Emily Post Institute, we no longer have to just wonder what that grand dame of good manners would do in a situation.  We can go to the Etipedia and actually look it up!  According to the website,

The Etipedia® is our encyclopedia of etiquette, housing content from all of our published Emily Post Institute materials: books, surveys, videos, podcasts, magazine columns and online articles.

And just who or what is the Emily Post Institute?  Founded in 1946 by Emily Post and her son Ned, The Emily Post Institute has been promoting etiquette around the world for five generations.   What started in 1922 when Emily Post published here seminal book on proper manners, Etiquette, has grown into a family business in which her descendents are still actively engaged.  Good etiquette is in their blood!

The Etipedia can be browsed, using the content tabs on the top, or even searched using keywords and/or phrases.   It is very user friendly.  Emily would approve!  Try searching “food allergies” as a phrase and you will see what we mean.  Did you know that proper etiquette dictates handling food allergies and dietary preferences (e.g., vegetarianism) differently?  Well, now you do!

Thanks to the Etipedia, formal gatherings and family meals no longer have to be frightening.  Simply brush up before you go or bookmark it on your smartphone while you are there.  Just please keep that phone off the table!  Our personal favorite entry is the Top Ten Table Manners.  Memorize them now before the holidays are upon us!

Friday Fun: Think you have it bad? Check out Please Fire Me!

With so many uproars and bombshells this week (re: ABA Journal, Thomson Reuters news, etc.), the iBraryGuy team decided that our friends and colleagues could use a little levity today.  The collective librarian blood pressure is too high.  So we are bringing it down a few notches.  Consider it a smile from us to you to get your weekend underway!

So you think you have it bad?  We all do once in a while.  The true challenge is to not let a bad moment ruin a whole day or even a bad day ruin a whole week.  Life is too short and too full of good things to dwell on those crumby times in which we wished things were better.  Sometimes, all it takes is a little reminder that when things are bad for us, they are probably worse somewhere else for someone else.  A little bit of laughter can go a long way.  The next time your boss or your coworkers get you down, check out PleaseFireMe.  It may just give you the giggle you need to drive those doldrums away.

PleaseFireMe is more than a blog for unhappy workers.  It is an online b*&#@fest for the “malemployed”.  Perhaps you know some of these folks.  They are the ones with the truly awful jobs . . . jobs that make the rest look like a walk in the park.  It is amazing what people will say when given the forum to do so.  Then again, it is sometimes amazing what people will tolerate to make a buck.  PleaseFireMe is a revolution in employee feedback.

Now we do have a warning, we are merely recommending that you give your overtaxed brains the occasional break by checking out this site.  We are in no way advocating it as a sound, safe, and sane way to voice your own work frustrations.  Heck, the world being as small as it is, we may even know who you are based upon what you post.  Having said, we would rather not know that any of our friends or colleagues was actually let go for venting on PleaseFireMe;-)

Have a great weekend!!!

The iBraryGuy Team

The Extraordinaries: A little help goes a long way!

Volunteering for a cause is not always as easy as it seems.  Between our over-packed schedules and underfunded incomes, giving of your time and money to charity can be a daunting task.  The fact that we are busy or that our budgets are tight, however, does not alleviate need.  With a little innovation and big idea, The Extraordinaries is here to save the day!

Have you ever heard of “micro-volunteering”?  The old adage is that every little bit helps.  Micro-volunteering is all about giving that very little bit of your time and talents to help someone out.  The Extraordinariesis a site designed to make giving that little bit even easier.  It is an online micro-volunteering network where people use their professional skills to solve nonprofits’ challenges in 10 minutes, or less. The opportunities listed are short, simple, and fun.  Best of all, you can volunteer wherever and whenever you have the time.   It doesn’t get much easier!

Here is how it works:  Non-profts sign up with The Extraordinaries and post challenges to the network.  Volunteers also sign up (it’s free!) and, when they have time, are able to peruse the challenges.  You simply pick a challenge that interests you and then post your response online.  Again, it should take you – the volunteer – about 10 minutes or less.  It may not seem like you are doing much.  But that little bit you do can lead to a whole world of good.  The Extraordinaries even offers an online Employee Volunteer Program (EVP) for corporations and other organizations that want to promote volunteerism among their busy staff.  Now that is cool!

The Extraordinariesis a for-profit social enterprise headquartered in San Francisco, CA. Their backing comes from leading social entrepreneurship organizations and a team of investors. Their site makes volunteering easy and fun.  Won’t you join the iBraryGuy team and turn your spare time into action for good?