Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Dark Side of the Web -Internet Malware

Watch this video: Phishing and Malware

Like any technology that Man makes, the Internet can be used for good as well as evil. This week, we are going to take a look at the dark side of the Internet and specifically talk about how to be a street-wise net surfer.

Malware is defined as computer software that is malicious in nature. It is generally understood to be software created to disrupt, damage or collect information from you without your knowledge.

Taking these negative verbs in order, an example of malware that is disruptive is popup advertising. You have all seen the annoying ads for pharmaceuticals, mortgages or legal services that popup as you surf the web. The good news is that they are easily controlled by enabling the popup blocker in Internet Explorer version 7.0. You can find the Pop Up Blocker under the tools menu - use it to customize the Blocker to your preferences.

Trojans and worms are examples of malware that can damage your computer. These programs get into your computer by attaching themselves to programs or files that are frequently downloaded. They can also attach themselves to web pages and email messages. Once in your computer, they can release a virus or gather up information and send it back to the hacker that wrote it. Reputable anti-virus software packages like Symantec Norton Utlities will effectively block worms and Trojans. To protect yourself at home, make sure that your anti-spyware and anti-virus updates are received and installed on a very regular interval. Here at work, the IS department works dilligently to protect us from these doers of evil.

Keyloggers, spyware and phishing scams are examples of malware that is designed to collect information about your or from you, without your explicit knowledge. Once they have gathered your information, usually usernames and passwords to your financial accounts, they allow criminals to access your accounts and help themselves! Defending against keyloggers and spyware can be done primarily by not opening email attachments from unknown senders and using one of the commercially anti-spyware products. Websites that off "free" software or music/deia downloads are great places to get infected with spyware - try to avoid them! The $.99 you pay Apple or Amaon for a song is worth the price just to know that you aren't getting something you don't want!

Phishing scams are much more difficult to defend against because their target is you and not a computer component or system. The hackers that create phishing scams are using psychology and social engineering to gather the information that they need. As a result, you have to be very aware and almost suspicious of every email you receive and website that you visit. The Library uses very capable anti-virus and anti-spy ware software, but we still receive phishing scams. The presentation below will show you what a typical phishing scam looks like and some simple ways to tell if you are looking at a legitimate email or if someone is trying to take advantage of you. This presentation uses real examples, received right here at OCLS, by people that you know!

eXplorer: Check out this presentation about Phishing. The information that it contains can not only help protect you from fraud here at work, but can also protect you and your family at home.

Have you ever been the target of a phishing scam? Did you recognize it as a scam right away? What tipped you off? Blog about your experiences with malware or phishing attempts.

Adventure: Did you know that you can subscribe to RSS feeds using Internet Explorer?

Here are step by step directions: IE7 and RSS

Note: I found through experimentation that not all RSS feeds will activate the orange RSS icon in IE. The Orlando Sentinel is an example. Even though their feed isn’t IE friendly, you can still subscribe to the Sentinel’s feeds. If you look under the Resources list on the lower left hand side of their home page, you will see a link to “Get RSS Feeds”. Clicking that link will open an index of RSS feeds that the Sentinel offers. You can subscribe to a feed by clicking the RSS button which will open the feed in a new window and then clicking your Add to Favorites icon in IE

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Life Long Learning 2.0

Watch This Video: The Hollywood Librarian

Listen to this Podcast: Life Long Learning

Life Long Learning - Our first course introduced the term Life Long Learning and the concept that it stands for. If you remember, we discussed, (New Bees: LLL in L2.0) life long learning as an attitude that encourages you to be open to new ideas, skills or experiences. You are never too old to learn a “new trick”! We live this and provide these learning opportunities to our community on a daily basis, so it is essential that we “walk the walk”! This module will continue to explore websites that will help you continue to learn and grow. The three areas of life long learning that we are going to look at are certificate/degree granting programs, professional development and personal growth programs.

Higher/Continuing Education – Ten years ago, online higher education was seen as a scam or something done by “diploma mills”. Five years ago, taking grad courses online from a local university was considered cutting edge. Today, just about every major university has an online program. Have you ever thought about getting your MLS from Syracuse but really hated the thought of leaving sunny Florida? Check it out ~
Syracuse University.

How about a guide to online college programs? eCollege Guide

So maybe going to college just isn't your thing. Maybe the student loan bills are pretty scary.........here are two opportunities to participate in formal learning in an open source format: Wikiversity & Connexions

Professional Development
Professional development is learning directly related to your career. This could range from the very specific training that enables you to do your job, or the broader based work skills that we all need. Your personal development plan in Halogen is your learning plan for your specific job, here are some websites that may help too:

Life Hacker - at first glance this site can seem very techno-centric. Don't be intimidated, it is a great site to get ideas on how to make technology work for you and it does cover non-tech subjects too.

Positivity Blog - a positive outlook allows you to see opportunities where others only see doom and gloom. This is a great site to help you stay focused.

Business Balls - check out the multiple intelligence section.

Personal Growth
Learning for personal growth is learning for fun. You do this to learn a new hobby or become better at something that you are interested in. Golf lessons? How about Spanish language lessons? Have you ever had a personal trainer?? The goal of this area of learning is to make your life more interesting and fun. Here are some websites that can help:

Berklee Music Lessons Were you more DJ Jazzy Jeff than the Fresh Prince? Check out the By Instrument section for free lessons for a broad range of instruments including DJ/turntable and voice.

Nikon Photo School Who better to learn digital photography from than Nikon?

Cnet Digital Home DIY This one is for the folks that need just a little help in seeing how to use their tech gadgets better (or a lot of help)

Instructables photo essays with instructions on how to do a lot of things.

eHow – How To Do Just About Anything.

Expert Village EV is a Youtube partner.

eXtropia – the How To site for serious techno geeks! Warning….techno rip tides are very strong here. Surf at your own risk!

HowStuffWorks - finally, a website that will stifle the 4 year old question machines inside all of us!

5 Minute Lifeopedia - Similar to HowStuffWorks but in video form.

eXplorer Take some time and explore the websites above. In your blog, tell us which website you liked and why. Will it assist you in reaching a personal or professional goal?

Adventure - Ok, after all that learning, it is time for a study break! Who makes your favorite pizza – Domino’s, Papa John’s or Pizza Hut? Your adventure challenge is to create a user account at the pizzeria of your preference and order some pie! Text or email, whatever works for you. (No, I am not going to pay for it, nice try!)

Here is some background info: Pizza via the web

Here are some links:


Papa John’s

Pizza Hut

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

OCLS and Library 2.0

Watch this video: Wii

Library 2.0
This module came about as I worked on the last module "Web 2.0 Continued". The question I had was "what is OCLS doing that is Web 2.0?" As I researched that question, I bumped into the term Library 2.0. I was intrigued and I wondered what Lib 2.0 and Web 2.0 had in common. As it turns out, I may be the last person on the planet to have heard of the term, but Library 2.0 is pretty familiar!
Jack Maness wrote a paper way back in 2006 that attempted to define how Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 intersect. The paper is a short read if you are interested: Library 2.0 Theory: Web 2.0 and Its Implications for Libraries He defines Library 2.0 as having the following characteristics:
  • it is user-centered.
  • It provides a multi-media experience.
  • It is socially rich.
  • It is communally innovative.
Our good friends at Wikipedia have a definition of Library 2.0 that you can see here, but I want to highlight one aspect of the definition: " Library 2.0 also attempts to harness the library user in the design and implementation of library services by encouraging feedback and participation." Where have we heard this before? Where has this come up, why does this sound familiar?? Remember our mission statement?? ....The Library connects our changing community to the evolving world of ideas, information and technology. Through continuous innovation, the Orange County Library System will create a well informed, well connected community, making Orange County a great place .....

Someone just IMed me on Googletalk and mentioned the strategic plan - what do you think - does it fit?

I. Strategic Goal: We will develop OCLS as the gold standard for public libraries.
A. Continue to cultivate the reputation of OCLS as a national model
B. Connect the community to our services and products
C. Use psychographics to develop and market services
D. Establish OCLS as an Employer of Choice

II. Strategic Goal: We will ensure continuous innovation
A. Create dynamic opportunities for customers and staff that move beyond the traditional Library experience
B. Manage continuous innovation so that ideas and analysis become an integral part of the innovative process
C. Establish and support a creative culture that values the free flow of ideas

IV. Strategic Goal: We will develop and optimize communication
A. Improve Electronic Communication tools
B. Establish Communication as an organizational priority for OCLS
C. Expand methods for communicating with the public.

Are we following Lib 2.0 concepts or are we doing what we think is right for OCLS? How will I benefit from all of this? Very good questions (and not just because I wrote them!) Having been very involved with both the mission statement and strategic plan development, I can promise you that Library 2.0 was never a consideration when these ideas were brought forward. After reading the articles above and reflecting on the work that we did in creating both the mission statement and strategic plan, I realized that many of the challenges and opportunities that we perceived as being important, are also important to a majority of the library industry. The VERY good news is that you work for an organization that is very proactive in recognizing the needs of its communities - internal and external. Imagine how frustrated you would feel reading about Library 2.0 if you couldn't move forward and do some of the things that Library 2.0 embraces? Where do you think those libraries are going to be in the next 10 years?

Here are two more programs at OCLS that embrace Library 2.0 concepts:

Orlando Memory is a community based digital archive - a place where patrons can post pictures that relate to specific topics of discussion all revolving around Orlando as a central theme. Kind of cool - take a look!

Orange Seed This program is for the internal OCLS community and has been around for some time. The program took a Library/Web 2.0 twist about a year ago when it became blog based and specifically asked for comments from the its audience (YOU!) Take a look at the new Orange Seed and add your thoughts to the ideas that are there.

Since there wasn't a pod cast this week I thought we would wrap up with a very special video. I know what you are thinking..."two videos in one week - this is way too much!" Well it is the season for giving! This video and artist is one of the Digital Content Team's favorite videos. I am sure you will enjoy it too! Music in the Library

eXplorer: Remember in the last course when we took pictures of our locations and departments and posted them to Flickr? Can you still find them? Those pictures were taken last year, correct? Since they were taken last year, they are historic - follow me? If you have historic pictures, well then, they should be posted in Orlando Memory - right? Follow the link above to Orlando Memory, create an account and post one of the pictures to the History of OCLS blog. In your blog, describe how you see programs like The Orange Seed and Orlando Memory as being important to yourself and how they are important to the Library.

New Bees: If you joined us after Learn 2.0 ended, you probably don't have a clue as to what I am talking about. Here is the link to the original module -look at the eXplorer activity. Now, here is how you can be a part of this....the images posted to Flickr were posted by a Group - as in a bunch of folks in a dept or location that collaborated on taking the pics and posting them. Search out that group in your area and see which picture you can post. Easy peasy!

Adventures: Remember in the Web 2.0 Continues module when I asked you for an opinion, well I am going to do that again. In a very Web/Lib 2.0 way, you are providing VALUABLE feedback on the services that the Library is providing. A few modules back, I asked you about the mission statement and how you see it relating to you and the work that you do at OCLS. The feedback to that question was incredible! My question this week is very similar - how do you see the new strategic plan impacting you and the work that you do for OCLS?

Secret Santa Bonus: This is a very cool thing to do and best of all, it deals with technology and......BOOKS! If you have images in your Flickr account or even on your computer's hard drive, you can send them to one of the websites below and they will print them into a hard cover book! I haven't done it yet, but I have someone on my list that is difficult to shop for and this will work very nicely. The cost is very reasonable, and from what I have been told, the quality is very impressive. You have the skills - now knock their socks off!



Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Web 2.0 Continues

Watch This Video: The Power of Web 2.0

Listen to this Podcast: Web 2.0 Continued

The Web 2.0 phenom continues to grow larger and it continues to change the way people use their time. This module will introduce you to some more Web 2.0 applications that may be helpful to share with patrons or in your personal life. After teaching the first course, I am sometimes surprised when I have to explain Flickr or Youtube to someone - not everyone knows this stuff! Have you noticed that?

Lets start out with some fun stuff. Are you planning a trip and wondering when you might get the best prices on airfare or hotel accommodations? Check out the cheapest time to travel to your destination with Farecast . Want to search all of the travel websites at once and find the best deal? Of course you do.....take a look at Kayak. So what is the difference? Farecast can tell you WHEN to travel for cheap, Kayak will let you find cheap travel now. Time is money my friend! Neither of these sites sell tickets, they just point you in the right direction.

Looking for a new apartment or trying to rent out your second home? Try Rentometer. Want to sell your house without using one of those pesky realtors? Maybe you want to see what has sold in your neighborhood? Check out Zillow. Disclaimer...Zillow claims my house is worth about $140,000 more than we were asking for it, just last year, and it didn't sell, so take the valuations with a grain of salt. Maybe those pesky realtors aren't so bad anyway....

Is the day that you hear your favorite band on the radio the same day that you stop liking them because they have “sold out”? Check out this website for your future former favorite. The 61

Pan Images is a Google project that is linking text to images. It will also allow you to search for images by translating your words into other languages. Kind of cool. Do a search for “library” Pan Images. As we are on the topic of images, here is one of several new digital imagining websites that goes one step beyond our old friend Flickr.

Maybe you have a program going on at your branch that you want to tell the world about or maybe you have a patron asking about the XYZ event that is supposed to happen? Try Upcoming, it is a Yahoo product that list events in any city in the country. The default is San Francisco, but you can easily change your location. Want to list an event? Use the link on the lower left side.

Texting has become a primary means of communication for many people. We offer the public the opportunity to text us questions and receive answers back via text – take a look: OCLS Texting Service

Have you signed up for OCLS Alerts yet? OCLS Alerts will send you reminder notices for your library materials and class registration. Here is the complete story and sign up page OCLS Alerts ***your cell phone provider may charge you for text messaging depending on your plan***

Lets end this exploration on our favorite topic - FOOD! Take a look at Im Cooked. Im Cooked combines your Aunt's potato salad recipe with a video of her actually making it. Since it is almost lunchtime, and I am hungry, I did a search for pizza. Don't do this if you are hungry, it won't help.

And finally……. Big Brother You knew that it was only a matter of time before this happened…

eXplorerer - I am thinking that I might not have scratched your Web 2.0 itch just yet. Maybe I didn't get the exact one you were hoping for, but I think I can help you help yourself. Now, I am going to let a secret out...I don't spend my days trolling for web 2.0 apps - not enough time in the day for that. I go to the source of all the good ones! Knowing where to find the information is the biggest part of the battle, right? You taught me that! So here it is: SEOmoz's 2008 Web 2.0 Awards.

Your task is to select and explore two Web 2.0 applications that I haven't discussed and tell us about them in your blog. I left some pretty good categories for you - geneology, employment, education, social networking, just to name a few. Tell me what you liked and how it will help you or your patrons (external or internal customers).

Adventure - Since you are more experienced and have some skills, this week, we are going to tap into your deep pool of knowledge and ask you for an opinion. If you are stepping up to do these Adventure activites, you "know stuff"'; that is a given. Now tell us what you think about "stuff". Here is the first one: Author and presenter Clay Shirky has some very strong opinions about why people are turning off thier TVs and tuning into the blogging world. Take a few moments and watch his presentation and tell us in your blog whether you agree or disagree. Does this guy have a valid point or is he full of frijoles? Where's the mouse? Were you suprised by the statistics? How has your own TV consumption changed within the last year? Will it change in the future? Is this Web 2.0 stuff just a fad or is it a societal shift in behavior? The video is 16 minutes long.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Week #6 - Play Week

This is an official exploration week. As such, I won’t introduce any new material so you can get a little play time with the things that we have covered. If you are a late joiner or if life has jumped in the way of your learning, this is a catch up week. Go!

eXplore – Play time – search, explore, fiddle, find, fool around, visit or revisit anything that we have covered so far. Share – Verbally share your experiences with someone at your location.

New Bees: Can’t get enough? Ok! Create a Meez avatar and insert it into your blog.

Adventures – Have you found the Easter Eggs yet? If so, let me know in your blog and mums the word!

Our next module will be Web 2.0 Continued and it will be posted on November 18th.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chain, Chain, Change........

Watch this Video: Has Higher Education Changed?

Listen to this Podcast: Chains? or Change?

Through out this course, I am going to share examples of how the music and movie industries are changing. As large, visible icons of our culture, the movie and music industries are caught in a struggle between what the consumers want and what the businesses want. Pirates Article While not as well reported, the changes libraries are experiencing will have incredible impact in the future. As we explore some of the issues related to the media industry, think about how or what kinds of changes are happening to our industry and how you feel or where you stand in regards to these changes. Change is inevitable, all living things experience it until they die, and then the changes stop (biologically, they continue, I know). Our organization is exactly the same, change will only stop when the county workers come and lock the doors and take down our OCLS signs.

Late last year one event caught my eye and really made me begin to “see” how technology and our culture are changing. The alternative band Radiohead left their record label, EMI, and released their album In Rainbows onto their website. That in itself isn’t too unusual, but Radiohead posted a note to fans instructing them to pay whatever they thought the album was worth. So if you were a fan, you could download the album and if you liked it, you could kick in a couple bucks to the record kitty. If you thought it stunk ~ Nada! This was and is a controversial shift in how musicians sell their work and it is a dramatic demonstration of how information is shifting to open source. Wired-Radiohead

Here is Rolling Stone’s take on it. Rollingstone - Radiohead Check out the stats in the last paragraph on the first page. (Don’t read the whole article unless you are really interested) Whether or not you have heard of the band or not, isn’t really the important part, what is important is that this band went around the “normal” way of doing business because it wasn’t working for them or their customers. For the record, (cheap pun, I know) Radiohead did release the album through normal distribution channels at the start of this year and it immediately went to number 1 on the charts.

In December 2007 the media giant Viacom (owners of Paramont Pictures, Dreamworks Studios, MTV, VH1 etc, etc) also rocked the technology and culture boat when they released the third installment of a major motion picture directly to the Internet for free downloading. Jackass the Movie Now, let’s not get caught up in what the movie is; I realize it isn’t exactly a Star Wars prequel, but Paramont did make money with the first two movies in this series. Again, the import thing is here is that the content is being distributed for free. And that is a BIG change for the motion picture industry. The Library has always done things for free, what are some of the ways you can see us changing?

The Internet is not the only opportunity out there either. Have you seen a USB bracelet yet? A USB bracelet is simply a rubber Lance Armstrong type of bracelet that holds a USB thumb drive. Willie Nelson (Willie Nelson???) started selling his concerts on USB bracelet right after his show every night. So if you were in the audience that night, you could stop by a booth and pick up that night's performance on a USB bracelet for about the same price as a concert T-shirt. Check it out: USB Bracelets (this article focuses on another band but you will see references to Willie and other artists as well)

Here is an article from Newsweek that touches a little closer to us. Google This article points to the fact that even the mighty Google is susceptible to the needs to change, to grow, to improve.

What is change? Organizational change is defined as "new procedures or technologies which are intended to focus an organization on the demands of its customers, or to take advantage of business opportunities". In our examples, Radiohead and Viacom changed their business models to better meet the wants and needs of their customers. They took advantage of an opportunity to use the Internet to give their “fans” or consumers (we call them patrons) better access to their content, and at a very attractive price. Willie Nelson came up with a change that should really stop people from illegally recording his concerts, creates a new source of revenue for himself, and most importantly, gives his fans the opportunity to re-live their experience whenever they want. How important is that from a fan (patron) point of view? That is a change that is a win/win/win!

Organizational change usually includes the introduction of new and unfamiliar processes, procedures, and technologies which can be different from what most people generally view as the established and familiar ways of doing their work. As a result, change can cause emotions and reactions that range from optimism to fear.

Why change? How do we benefit from change? Change is a positive force within OCLS because it enables us to GROW! We grow to better meet our patron’s needs, we grow to reach more people and we grow to become more efficient in the way we do business. Change often makes us feel uncomfortable, maybe a little fearful, maybe a little excited about the new possibilities. If you focus on the possitive outcomes, remain flexible in your attitudes and continue to learn and grow, you are more than prepared to ride the change wave all the way to the beach!

eXplorer: Take a look at our new mission statement. What part of the mission statement do you connect with? Which part speaks or draws you in? How do you see us creating a well-informed, well-connected community, making Orange County a great place to live, learn, work, and play? Tell us in your blog.

Adventures: Lets see how good your crystal ball is. The Da Vinci Institute is group dedicated the the work of the late scientist/inventor/artist. They have published a series of articles relating to the future of libraries. Talk about change! Take a moment and read this DaVinci article and tell us what you think in your blog. What parts are we already doing? What parts would you like to see us do in the future? What could we do better? Do you agree with the author's ideas? Why or why not? If the article interests you, you can go here to explore their other papers related to the future of libraries.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Open Source Information

Watch this Video: Imagine 2020 (8 minutes, stop it before nano technology) Listen to the comments regarding fairness in the use of technology and open source software, open architecture networks and Wikipedia. Notice the differences at the university in Japan.

Listen to this Podcast:Open Source Information

Open Source. You may have heard the term before. It has been a buzz word in IT circles for several years. Open source software is usually a collaborative effort between communities of programmers that join together to create alternatives to software published by closed-source-for-profit companies. For example, the open source Open Office competes directly against Microsoft’s Office. Both programs have essentially the same functionality; both packages include a word processor, a spreadsheet program, a presentation program and a database. They can even share files! The major difference is that Open Office is free and Microsoft Office will cost you about between $125 - $250 depending on if you own a previous version or not. (To be fair, when you download Open Office you are asked to either contribute to the Open Office community by telling your friends and reporting bugs as you find them or contribute a monetary donation of an amount of your choosing.) Another difference is that Open Office encourages you to share, change or modify the program to best meet your needs. With closed-source software, changing the code would violate your user agreement and may violate laws. Sharing your copy with someone else would definitely send you to jail. What do you think is the better solution? The free software that you can share with anyone and change to best meet your needs, or the pay per view version that you can only use the way the vendor dictates?

We can draw very similar lines of comparison to information. Access to information is very much becoming open source. There is a shift away from conglomerate owned media companies providing only the stories that will draw the biggest audiences and the largest advertising dollars. The shift is towards individuals using blogs, video cameras, or cell phone cameras to capture events as they happen and sharing them with the world. Don’t get me wrong, the possibility of a bias is still pretty much a given, but we are now in the age of citizen journalism. Take a look at this Youtube video about the use of video by politicians on Youtube.

Liveleak is another video website like Youtube, but it is much more focused on reporting events as they happen. What you see (and hear) is most often un-edited, as it happened, how it happened, video. Some of the videos come from formal news agencies like the BBC and AP ; most of the video comes from people like you. Be prepared, what you see may not be pretty! Liveleak

In our opening video and in the last course, we talked about collaboration; working together to solve a problem or to get a job done. Collaboration is a LARGE part of Web 2.0. Question and answer websites are one of the biggest trends on the web right now. These websites allow users to submit any kind of question and the community answers it. Yahoo, Google and Amazon all have their own answer websites or branded websites. One of the pioneers is Answerbag. Here is a good description of what these websites do:
Answerbag defined Answerbag has done some interesting things to build it’s community and market it’s services. In July, they released an application for Facebook that allows FB users to ask questions. So why are they doing this? What is the big deal? By attaching itself to Facebook, Answerbag picks up 60 million users in the US alone! (Facebook Stats) Oh, and for those that don’t have a Facebook account, Answerbag will give you a widget to hang on your webpage so your visitors can use Answerbag too. (AB Widget read this only if you are interested in widgets )

If you don’t trust the masses with your information needs, there is always the old fashioned way….you know....Google Scholar!
Google Scholar

Here is another source of info that I think you will like: Library Spot Click the About link at the bottom left hand side to read about the organization.

Exlporer: Take a few moments to explore each of the answer sites below. Create an account and post or answer a question. It might be interesting to post the same question on each site to see what kind of answers you receive – just a thought.

Yahoo Answers

Since you joined OCLS, how has technology changed the way you access, use or provide information? As technology makes information more open source, how do you see our role, as a library, in the future? Describe it for us in your blog.

Adventurer: Have you Googled yourself lately? You might want to, especially after reading this:
Google, Florida and Personal Information What did you find out – tell us in your blog.