Chromecast Review

Being the techie nut that I am, I’ve tried to piece back things that I have given up since I was laid off a couple of years ago. Only a few months ago, I just got back internet to my home. I relied on internet service from my work, in-laws, and apps iPhone and iPad to take care of my entertainment needs. This was a limiting option that I dealt with but still manage to have enough get me by. For my birthday, I got an Xbox One which was great to have since this model was wireless and did not have the restriction of the Xbox Gold membership to tie up my streaming movie/tv apps. I love this system but for just watching movies and such, especially late night, the system stays on though it should turn off after inactivity. The Google Chromecast was something I had my eye on for sometime to help with this problem.

Before I go into the setup, I had bought the high-end Roku system for about $99 for my mom a few years back. Cost was not the issue but rather ease of use for her. The setup was easy but I had to login to each account and have it setup for her. The handy remote is convenient but not so when typing in your user name/password one letter at a time on the virtual keyboard. The Chromecast has a lower cost and the setup is a bit easier though confusing.

When you get a device that has little to no user manual, I would like to think this very user-centric and intuitive product. Take the product out, plug it into you HDMI port and in my case, there was no USB plug on my tv so I used the external power cord. There is no remote other than using your devices and in my case, my iPhone and iPad. Just like the Xbox One, the second glass control from my devices are way cool and I can control the Chromecast the same way but make sure you have enough power in your devices. Unlike the Roku remote, you can change the batteries and you’re off and running because charging a dead device can take some time.

Let’s say you are good to go with power on your devices, the Chromecast tells you where to go to begin the process. When I went to my Chrome browser, I was directed to download the Chromecast app. When the process was done, I went to the Discover Apps section; this is when the confusion came in. There was Hulu Plus, Netflix and the others so I picked one and then I get sent to the iTunes Store and this would not get resolved. The little spinning loading logo appeared and stayed spinning for sometime. This went on longer than I expected as I soon discovered, I did not need to do this at all. I already had the apps installed on my device but I thought the Chromecast app was going to be the single destination and had to re-download what I had. So now, I have saved you some time.

Now, I opened Netflix on my device and there was the Chromecast icon on the top of the app. Once I touched that icon, voilà, it worked. I tried again and Hulu Plus and voilà, that was so cool. I tried to open my Amazon Prime and there was a problem. I tried Flixster and there was a problem. I had movies I’ve download through iTunes and other apps and there were problems. This morning, I added the Chromecast extension to my Chrome browser so I believe many of the problems I am experiencing will be resolved. However, to have access to this I would need my laptop. While my Chrome browser is link on every device and computer I use, the extension are not available with I use the Chrome app on my devices.

Overall, aside from the bit of confusion on the setup, it’s fairly quick and straightforward. The price is better than the Roku plus you don’t need a separate device to control your desired programming. I’ll need to update this entry after I get these kinks out but so far Google Chromecast is a big winner.

Makerspace. We’re Kinda Getting One.

To catch up from the last entry, the my library is safe for another year. There is no age of extinction for the library. We have a budget that will allow us to stay intact plus a few extra bells and whistles. In addition, I was able to get my transcripts from my school which I needed to keep my position. For the most part, the worst is behind me on both fronts and can look forward new adventures as a librarian.

During the Blue Ribbon Panel discussion, which the Mayor put together before making his new budget, there was talk about Makerspace. It’s not a new buzzword to me but for others, what the hell is a makerspace?

“Makerspaces, sometimes also referred to as hackerspaces, hackspaces, and fablabs are creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn. In libraries they often have 3D printers, software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies and tools, and more.”

From http://oedb.org/ilibrarian/a-librarians-guide-to-makerspaces/

Since creating a makerspace can be pretty much anything you want it to be, our library is gearing to get 3 3D printers. Back in July, I attended and presented at the SEFLIN conference and there was one was a Makerspace presentation from the Broward library system I had to attend. There I was both pleased and envious of what Broward had achieved with their makerspace. At the end, the presenters offered tour of their space and since my name was attached to the 3D printers, I had to jump quickly to get a sense of what we were getting ourselves into.

IMG_1910As we begin, we see this sign outside the area. The graphics are indeed eye catching and best of all, when you step off the elevator and head towards the entrance of the library, there is no way you can miss the space. Note the high tech design graphic is also repeated on the glass behind. The next pics carries that same design on the inside.

IMG_1915IMG_1916

As you see, there are prints on the wall that carry the same theme. The monitor in the first picture has a sensor that allows you to manipulate the image in the screen. Not on the screen, our host was showing us a 3D spider and with a few hand gestures the spider could seen at every imaginable angle. This is one of the tools patrons can use when designing their 3D objects. The second picture is a simple waiting area for those to want to use the 3D printer.

IMG_1922This is their 3D printer. The MakerBot sign is also the printing platform. The thing above the platform is the real printer itself. The platform starts high and slowly goes to the bottom as the printer lays down a very thin layer of melted filament like the size of a human hair.

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These are the different colored 3D filaments. Costs can run in the $20+ range.

IMG_1918

As you see here in this picture, the filament is fed through this tube on top of the printer. The printers can have 2 of these tubes, have different colors but can only print one color at a time. The next series of pictures will be of the finished 3D products patrons created.

IMG_1911IMG_1912IMG_1917IMG_1913IMG_1914As you can see, there are some amazing 3D objects that were created. Again, all the colors are single colored objects. The slight exceptions are the Eiffel Tower, the Olympic Rings, and the linked chained in which, they started printing in one color, pause – changed to another color – print that section, pause again – change to another color – print that section and so forth. Our host mentioned that where are some higher end printers that can print using dual colors but don’t expect the colors to be blended. (We are only in the early stages of 3D printing)

IMG_1923

Now, this picture is important to note. This model give you a print progress report but show how much time is left to print the object.

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This is the same printer from above and it’s printing 16 chess pieces. At the end of 8+ hours, the pieces will be created and ready to use immediately.

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In the background, you can see the other chess pieces already done. So, if chess has 64 pieces, printer does a batch of 16 pieces every 8+ hours, roughly in 35 hours, you will have you your own complete chess pieces. So, now that we’ve seen the wow factor of a 3D printer, where do we do go from here?

Towards the end of the tour, I was worried about how would we use this new printer? Outreach would greatly benefit from having a demonstration of a 3D printer. Take this puppy to a high school so we could wow the kids or maybe when we have another table at next year’s Florida Supercon we can engage those attendees in a very interactive way. I like this idea but honestly, the printing of these objects does take a long time unlike the replicators on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Our host had also mentioned that their printers run into issues when the printing goes over 50 hours straight.

This leads to the next question, we are not open 24 hours a day. These printers have to left on to finish the job. Just like sending a document to the printer, if you turn off the printer, there is no way of continuing where the printing was left off. Another point of consideration, who is going to be in charge of it? Granted my name was thrown in the ring but when happens on my day off or if I’m sick, on vacation or if I get transferred, our host made it clear that the 3D printing program should be self sufficient. Sure, once the printer has the object in it’s memory, the rest is just waiting… waiting for the object to get printed. Still we need a training program.

Which leads me to another question, are we going to just print stuff for patrons? The 3D printer does have great potential to have a real impact on our patrons. There was a situation our host had mention about 3D printing a thumb for one of their patrons. I forget the details on how it happened but the 3D prosthetic thumb gave this patron the full use of her hand rather for free rather than having to pay the cost of one. What else can we do?

Business start-ups and innovators looking to create prototype objects can use the library’s 3D printer rather than having to pay someone else for the cost and printing when they can do this themselves. Problem for us, we don’t have autocad on our public computers due to cost and demand. There are free programs like Sketchup but are we going to allow this on our computers? Unlikely but the plus side, 3D files can be put on to the thumb drive and then get put into the 3D printer itself. The host had mention there are wireless option to transmit the from the computer to the printer but if the wifi is down, there goes the transfer. What else?

Our host talked about a direct benefit for a patron and a service we can sell to businesses, what about schools? He talked about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had helped libraries with grants sustain and to have quality public access to computers for their patrons; the 3rd printer is just another level of computer access. Skills learned on this machine are used for personal, business and school needs. 3D printing needs to part of the digital literacy and the library must include this in our practices and need to educate the communities they serve. Yes, we can print up a pink TARDIS if you want but there are some real educational application we should look into. The MakerBot had this entry on a site called Thingiverse.

“With the intent of making the 3D printing ecosystem more accessible to educators, MakerBot Academy has selected Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics that align with our 3D printed content. Our goal is to lower the barrier to 3D printing in the classroom by directing teachers to standards-aligned resources. We hope to make the process of incorporating 3D printing technology into the curricula more seamless for teachers and students alike.”

from http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:464195

There is no way we can take care of the needs of the public with just 3 printers right off the bat but rather, we should use treat these printers in a way to demonstrate the potential of 3D printing; a la Tech Mobile, outreach and partnerships. As we develop more interests, we can then start think about making a dedicate spaces for business and teens like they do in Broward but we need to learn how to crawl before we get to walk or run.

Libraries – Age of Extinction

libraries age of extinction

Much has happened to me since my last blog post; professionally speaking. Back in May, I was able to do our first Free Comic Book Day at the Library event. Over the course of the day, I think I gave out about 30 comics which does not sound like a lot but for a fist time event and on the beach; this was consider a success. On June 28, I had our first Comic Con at the Library event. We had about 80 people for this event which again, first time event and on the beach,  this was consider an even bigger success. The following week, July 3-6, the library had a table at the Florida Supercon. me at the conI was able do this out reach with 5 other librarians over the 4 days reached about 5% of total attendance for this event or to put it more concrete terms we spoke to over 1700 people. I even did a cheapy cosplay which if you are a Doctor Who fan, I did something on the Silence or if you are a Batman fan, I was the villian Victor Azsasz. Two-fer cosplay!!!! And still to come, I will be doing a short presentation at this year’s SEFLIN conference on how to create comics in the library in a couple of weeks. Yet, for all these great professional achievements, the library is on the eve of a total devastation.

Tomorrow, the County Commissioners of Miami Dade County will vote of the millage rate for the library. If the millage rate remains flat, no change from last year, we will only be able to generate about $30 million dollars. While this may sound like a great deal of money it’s not. The reality is the $30 million dollars alone is just enough to take care of the staff salary and nothing else. We escaped this doomsday scenario last year buy raiding the last of the reserves which was about $20 million. This year, there are no reserves to speak of and yet even if the millage was raised to $54 million dollars, we are still looking at layoffs. Take a look at the last blog entry and you can see that the news will not be pretty. This begs the question, did we do enough to raise awareness and library advocacy? I want to remain optimistic but we could very well see our libraries in an age of extinction.

What me worry???

Once more, what does the fates have stored for me and my colleagues? If you look below, there are three different budget scenarios which highlights what can be accomplished and the consequences.

THE WORST

The worst case scenario: If things remain the same as in no increases in the millage rate (which we get our funding from) we are beyond shit creek. We are already in the hole by $20 million from raiding last year’s reserves. Today, there are no reserves to tap into. Aside from the reduction in hours, staff will be severely impacted. The budget alone for staffing this year is already around $30 million. We can not operate a library system this way.

Still Bad

The not as worse but as not great scenario: The increase in millage is helpful in many areas. Yet, staff will be reduced almost 25%.

I'm still screwed

The you have got to be shitting me scenario: Even with the increase in the millage, which some commissioners are advocating, there are still going to be layoffs of 91 full time employees. As in the past, I will count myself as I still and will never have enough seniority in my position to keep it.

So, regardless of the any of these scenarios, I’m fucked.

Thank you very much.

 

 

Solar Dancing Chick – Today’s Reference Question.

solar dancing chick

 

Every once in while, working at the information desk, you get a reference question makes you wonder, “Am I being punk’d?” Unfortunately, as a librarian, there are no stupid questions but… geez, this one really takes the cake and makes me want to re-evaluate humanity.

This one particular woman called our branch many times in the past to learn about certain medical conditions, treatments and other health related questions. Today’s call kinda took me by surprise as this same patron asked me about a solar-powered toy. She starts off by trying to phrase what she wanted to know but the more she talk the weirder the question became. “How can a solar-powered toy work?” This was the condensed version or the heart of what she wanted to know. Of course, I had to drill down further to find out more information.

I kept asking her what type of product was it and she replied, “A solar dancing chick. I got it from CVS. How does it work?” She kept insisting there was no solar panel and how could a toy be labeled as a solar toy if there was no panel. I turned to the internet gods and did a quick search for it. When I saw the image, I asked her if the chick was standing on something, “Yes,” she said. “Like white stone or maybe an egg?” She replied, “Yes.” “Do you see a rectangular box down below the feet?” Once again, “Yes.” Well, that’s the solar panel,” I said finally. You would think that I solved the problem but wait, there was more. “But how does it move?” I did a mental facepalm. I knew if I had to go into technical details on how the solar panel converts the sun’s energy she would get lost.

I gave her a very simple answer to the conversion the solar panel made but then she wanted to know what was inside that made it move. So about 10 minutes later, I find out that she wanted to know not about the panel but what was in the chick. Facepalm. I told her there had to be some type of rod frame that moved back and forth like a metronome. If you were to break this toy open, I’m sure you would see the rod frame. And folks, that was it. The line of questioning was over as I solved her issue. But honestly, was this worth the time and the effort?

 

Before and After Life

before and after life

 

I don’t know where this is going but it started with something that happened today while at the library. I was working at the circulation desk when patron informed me that something happened to a homeless man in a wheelchair in the park across the street. He tried to wake up the man but there was no response. He believed this man had died and since he had no cell phone, he wanted me to call the police on this matter. I didn’t call immediately but I sought out my supervisor first and tell him of the situation. He went out to check and then made the call to the police.

When I got off the desk on the first floor, I went upstairs to my next shift on the desk. I decided to look at the view and saw the crime scene unit was there and had covered the homeless man. As more official came, things moved ever more quicker. With in a short amount of time, the police and all those involved moved along to the next case they had to work on. I decided to take a second picture of the exact scene and as you can see, it was as if nothing happened at all. My original version of this blog entry talk more about our own existence with scifi metaphors and unfortunately, it got erased.

I’ll talk about these scifi references with today’s events but I’m a bit worn from the day. Also, I wanted record this. I had too. I wanted to remember that a man died in this park and unless I remember it, it will be as if nothing happened. I wanted this image will live on in the internet.

Be excellent to each other. Life is too short.

The First Marathon is Under My Belt.

me with medal

In a nutshell, it’s done. Clean and simple. No fuss no muss. And now, for the rest of the story. (Thanks, Paul Harvey.)

jen and i 2Like anyone preparing for a big exam, the night before is pretty nerve-racking. I did not go to bed until after 11pm. I made sure I had everything packed away from sunscreen to my GU gels. My wife and I did get up around 3 am and I started to eat some breakfast. All I could keep down was some Black Cherry greek yogurt and some Gatorade. The night before, I has some pizza from Pizza the Hutt including the pasta dish with Tuscani Meaty Marinara. I ate the entire pasta dish and several slices of pizza so, I was full but still I needed to some more fuel for the run.

We headed out around 4:15 which I thought was late for us since the lineup began at 5am. We breeze through the roads and made it to the downtown area, including parking, within 20 minutes. We were way early but my bladder had other ideas. I did not drink any caffeine drinks the night before or on the day of the race for this reason; it makes me pee like a race horse. Not that I’ve seen a race horse pee nor do I have any desire too but my bladder was one big pee machine. Hell, I went at least three or four times before I left the house and that many with I got to the race. In between all the peeing, I was able to get a quick shot of my wife and I. And of course, here’s a pic of me in front of the multiple TARDIS port-a-potties.

me before the raceMoving right along, race time was getting near and my nerves were at an all time high. Everyone around me was either doing stretches or quick jogs in place. I did stretch before I went into my pen. My wife was just to the left of the pen and kept me company and helped to relax me nerves. Looking around, it was obvious that the pack around me was far more in shape that I was. I had to keep reminding myself, I am not here to compete against them, this race is about me completing the race. That is the goal that anyone attempting this race must remember. This race is not about speed; it’s about endurance.

in the crowdsin the crowds 2 (2)

Now, the race begins. Right from the onset, I am being passed left and right in droves. Once again, I reminded myself not to follow their paces as they were alot more fit than I was and to do so would be unwise. By mile 2, I had to stop  as my bladder told me to pull over to give my liquid treasure to the TARDIS god once more. Back to the race, I kept a steady pace and stopping about every 45 minutes to consume one of the 7 GU energy gels. I had calculated the night before how many of these gels to buy and to use for the race. The magic number was 7 as I would use one before the race and then every 45 minutes. This would be about 5.5 hours worth of energy plus I made sure to drink along every mile marker for drinks.

Last year, I started to feel pains in my legs after mile 6 and by mile 9, I had started to walk due to the strain. This time around, I felt much better, not exactly running at Flash’s speed but I was better. I did take short breaks but only to take a quick sip from my running bottle filled with Gatorade. I planned on carrying two small towels to use because even at that early morning, the heat and humidity was there. By mile 8, I used the soak sweat towel to cover the back of my neck and used my at to hold it in place. This was a smart move as the sun was at my back and the towel, covered with sweat, yes gross, kept me cool.

mile 11Around mile 10, I’m already seeing people not handle this run. I saw people on stretchers and one female runner lying down by the curb suddenly sit up and started to throw up. I felt very fortunate that I trained many times on the beach during the late mornings and afternoons. The heat during those runs would drain me after only a few miles. This might have been a godsend to continue after others struggled at this point. By mile 12, the groups were being separated into two groups 1/2 marathons and the full marathons. When the two groups went in the opposite direction, the full marathoner group was dramatically thin. Still I kept pressing on as the longest run I did to date was 15.5 miles. By mile 14, I got my first of many ‘stop running’ cramps. I got worried that I would not be able to continue running because the pain was sharp and intense. So, I walked. There was some weird mantra I heard that if you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. Never give up. I didn’t. As a reward, those who know Miami weather can change in a heartbeat, there were dark clouds and then some rain. No worries on my part as I continued to run and walk.

By mile 18, I was bad shape in my legs. I could only muster a few quick moments before the pain came back. Oddly enough, I saw some guy dressed as a banana and another one as a giraffe with a baby. I had to chuck at the sight as I needed to laugh and get distracted. But the banana was an omen for me as about 1/4 mile later, there was refreshment stand that had bananas. Of course, I need this more than the Gatorade, water and other items. I scarfed the banana as I needed this shit to work quickly yo! Mile 19 – 22, I carried on but the next two miles was daunting.

heatThe Rickenbacker Causeway connects Miami to Key Biscayne which started mile 23. By this time, I had to shade from the sun and the time was about 11:30am. If the morning was hot, the late morning was scorching hot. There was very little shade and relief. The next refreshment stand was under the bridge span to the Key which was very cool compared to walking and shuffling. I made the turn to run back the mile on the other side of the causeway. Still the heat was beating down on me that I had to use a new towel given to me during the race on my head. I draped over on one side to block out the sun. As you can see from the pic above, I look very sheik.

mile 25Mile 25 and now on the road for more than 6 hours. This was not how I planned to finish as I wanted to be done at least over 5 hours but not this much. Again, telling myself, this race is about finishing at this point and that’s all that matters. The last major hurdle was a bridge which I had to walk. One word think that down hill would have been easier. This decline started to hurt my legs even more than I had to grab the temporary barrier from kneeling over.

near 26near 26 2near 26 3By this point, I saw the marker for mile 26 and started to hobble quickly towards it. I knew that my pain would soon be over but every step took great effort to channel the pain to drive me.

One of the things I practiced over and over was to end my run on a strong finish – one last push. The piece of music I was going end my run on is the last track on the Man of Steel soundtrack. Whether you care for the movie or not, the score by Hans Zimmer was my inspiration to get myself out there and to not give up no matter the obstacle. I made it to mile 26 and then made the turn to the finish line.

final push 1final push 7

The first half of .26 of a mile, I ran but got a pain behind my right leg – another cramp. This stopped me again but then I saw the few people they’re cheering the runners on. I heard someone yell something in Spanish, which sucks for me because I don’t speak it, but I took it as get up or run or don’t quit. And there is was… my moment to run like the wind bullseye. Just like the moment in Man of Steel, Superman  discovers his ability to fly but can’t control it. He takes a moment and take his right fist into the ground. The ground starts to tremble and rumble and then Superman flies into the air. I too gathered the same control and ran as fast as I could and channeled all that pain as fuel. In the end, I did the impossible for myself. I did it. I ran my first marathon.

medal

So where do I go from here? The answer may surprise you. I am not planning on running the 1/2 or the full Miami Marathon next year. I’ve decided to focus on getting my wife to do a 5k next year. This would be very achievable for anyone to do and I mean anyone. I started using the Couch25k app on my iPhone and could barely run 30 seconds. This was not easy but I had to do something different in my life because I had been unemployed going on 6 months. I had no control over my life and this gave me control and the confidence to endure. I still plan on running more marathons like Boston, NYC and yes, Disney but I don’t want to leave my family behind. The amount of training for the marathon was long and lonely despite it giving me some quiet time from the family and the library. I’m proud to have accomplished a boyhood dream and I love my medal but I’m gaga over my 26.2 sticker on my car most of all.

sticker

26.2.

26.2

Coming down to just a few days, I will be running my first marathon. Like with all new things, there is always uncertainty about how well things will turn out. This time last year, I was working on the 1/2 marathon which had a combination of running and walking to help me across the finish line in 2 hours 48 minutes. I was beaming from all the hard work to reach that point that within a few days later, I decided to register for the full marathon.

After I completed my 1/2 marathon, I continued to run each month but with no great extend or effort until September.

February 43.4 11:01, March 34.7 13:34, April 43.9 12:19, May 48.5 12:07, June 26.9 12:17, July 21.8 11:45 August 36.9 12:11, September 50.7 13:10, October 60.4 11:53, November 51.4 11:25, 52.2 11:49 and now 84.8 11:43 with this a few more days to go to break 100 miles in January.

As you just read are the total miles for each month and the average time for the runs. What changed in September was a change in my diet or my daily intake. I started to drink a shit load of chocolate milk after my runs which is usually a quart each time. I also ate greek yogurt for the high protein content and tried different ones from Chobani, Dannon Oikos, and Publix. Dannon was the most creamyand not so thick compared to Chobani. Publix brand was good except for the splitting of the fruit in a separate compartment which at times my spoon did not fit to scoop it out. Overall, the greek yogurt was a big plus. I also had more oatmeal, bananas, pasta and various caffeine drinks for the extra boost before runs. The last couple of months I tried to limit the soda intake which gave me migraines from the withdrawal. I was able to ween myself and started to drink more water, juice, and Gatorade. Having this new type of fuel, I pushed myself to run more, faster, and farther.

On average runs last year, I would run for 15 minutes, rest for 1 minute and repeat the cycle. Having had these training wheels for such a long time, I pushed myself to run straight for 3 miles, then 4, 5, and 6 miles in the later part of the year. Early in January, I ran my fastest 10k at 1:05:57. Next, I ran farthest to date at 15.5 miles which lasted almost 3.5 hours which was my longest run time. A couple of weeks ago, I did the same 13.1 distance but at a much quicker rate. I bet my time 1/2 marathon time by 18 minutes. I ran 13.1 at 2.5 hours. As a rule of thumb, to calculate the time to run a full marathon, you take your 1/2 run time multiple it by two and some time after for any delay. So, I am looking at a 5+ hour marathon run and that’s what I’m shooting for.

The other issue I had to consider was the battery life to my iPhone. After the 1/2 marathon, my phone was about to die and I had not found my wife after the race but course I did a short time later. Nonetheless, I nearly ran for 3 hours and doing a full marathon is going to be much, longer. I started to look into battery chargers that I would be able to carry and charge along the way. There were various “lipstick” iPhone chargers which were light enough but I would have to use a USB cord. The solution was something I saw online which was a iPhone battery case. The case itself was the battery which would extend the life the battery without a tether. Prices would range from $50 – $80 which I had to save up for. Lucky for me, Groupon was selling an Unu iPhone Battery Cases for $30. This was a no brainer and I’ve tried running with it several times. While there is a bit more weight to the device, the solution is well worth the extra weight consider what I will be doing and to stay in contact in case of emergency.

Next, I had to upgrade my footwear. After my 1/2 marathon, I went to Footworks on Miami Beach to buy my 13.1 sticker for my car. I had talked briefly with the sales clerk about what I did and planned to do for the future. Several weeks ago, I went back to Footworks to do my feet justice. I was given great customer service, tried on several pairs and even had my running pace analyzed. I settled on a pair of running shoes from Brooks; which I never heard of before. What stood out from them apart from Nike and New Balance was the front end of the shoe. The front end had a bit if a lift and not just being flat on my feet. I tried running with them with one shoe from Brooks and the other from New Balance. The feel was amazing with Brooks as they had the extra kick them when I pushed off with the front of the shoe. I have worked hard to break them in and ran almost 80 miles to date. I have felt a great difference overall.

The last bit of information are my earbuds. One of the problems with the apple earbuds with all the running I have done, the sweat has destroyed them to the point where they are inaudible. As such, I kept running with them until I had a Best Buy gift card to buy new ones. Having done some research, I decided on getting Yurbuds Inspire. The earbuds are the same as others but they have a silicone case that fits in the ear better for runners. I have run for several months and I’ve no problems with the audio quality or having them pop out during running. However, as I’ve taken off the silicone case to clean them, I noticed they are not holding on to the earbud itself as much as before. As a result, I lost one of the cases and had to order a replacement. I did order them several weeks ago and I’m getting beyond nervous as I will have to use another pair of earbuds from apple. Luckily, the I found a new pair of earbuds that came out with the iPhone 5. Worst case, I will use them but I would rather use my Yurbuds.

Well, there you have it. I have done a great deal of work in the past year. I’ve updated my gear to help me along this journey that I never thought I would be on. So, fingers crossed and wish me well. I’ll update my blog after the race.

It’s All About the TARDIS!

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Today is THE day not for the Doctor but for the TARDIS. At long last, the day has come to fruition to construct the TARDIS door. Why did it take so long? I needed the right paper and the right colored paper.

The blue construction paper at work did not work because of the stiffness and the size. The size was decent 11″x18″ which can take up a lot of spa but I would have to do a great deal of cutting. As for the stiffness of the paper, there are edges that I needed to make creases and the amount of tape to use to secure it would have made it look horrendous and the weight would pull away from the tape. To boot, the color was a light blue which was not the proper TARDIS blue. After some store shopping and then online, I found the perfect craft and color from Pacon. Many online stores had the product but because of the added shipping cost it was added almost a 50% cost. I went through Amazon and got free shipping through my Prime membership. As you can see from the pic above, I think I made a wise investment even though it delayed me.

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For the picture above, my colleague, using her small scale TARDIS toy, created the roof and was able to create a paper ledge. Her input on this project has been amazing. Once she was done, I placed the already created sign for the Police Call Box. These were the easy parts compared to the rest of the TARDIS.

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The next part was to cover the outside molding of the door. In addition, the door frame was not flush. There was a smaller frame attached to the inner part of the frame. We had to make sure that the inner frame and the outer frame was covered by the same piece of craft paper. The side with the door hinges had its own problems with the hinges and the inner door frame but was a bit easier as we did not have to cover the side of the outer frame since you can’t see it.

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After lunch, my colleague worked on creating the light on top of the Police Box. With an exacto knife, she was able to cut a very delicate frame. Since the wall was white, there was no need to add white paper. My contribution to make the square box which sits on top of the roof for the light to sit on. Again, consulting the toy TARDIS helped us to create this effect.

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The next part was to add 1″ strips of paper to create the window pane. There was an idea to use white paper in the window and the place the paper window panes. For the sake of time, the white paper was left out.
Next, we could not hang a straight sheet of rolled paper, tape it to the door and be done with it. The top window had to be cut out and well as the two panels below. I opted to make decision to have the outer part of the door covered. Once those were done, I would cover the horizontal bars as a coverup since the hinges were more of a problem as well as the door knob. For the last two windows, my colleague mentioned to place the paper in the back; it was a cheat but it got use through. Finishing the last bit of the horizontal bars, I was coming down to the end of the day at work. So, the next picture is the final results – sort of.

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I am truly pleased with the results considering how much time was spent in creating this library TARDIS door. This display will be part of my Scifi winter wonderland young adults display for December. As with all things, I will come back on Monday to work to add a picture of the Doctor looking out from inside the TARDIS. This was my daughter’s idea which I truly love.
Well, what do you think?

International Game Day

wii gamesWhere to begin with my day on International Game Day. First, I broke out my X-Box 360 with Kinect with all my games including Rock Band, DJ Hero 2 and Tony Hawk. I’ve had done International Game Day once before and had a huge turn out. Being new to the Miami Beach Regional Library, over 1 year, and less with the YA (Young Adult) position. I’ve started with an Anime and Gaming Teen Club for the past couple of months but very little turnout. Except for my teens who run their own D&D meetings once a week, I would have zero teens in my branch. So, today was the day for me to make some kind of difference – anything.

While the program was scheduled today from 3:30 - 5:30, I started early for any lookie lous. Around 10am, I started to play bowling on the Wii in one part of the teen section and a short time later, a young preteen boy and his dad/grandpa? just happen to see me play. So the kid joined me some Wii Tennis and while I felt confident that I could take him, I lost 2 out of 3 games. Damnit!!!! Still, it was a great game to play and lots of fun.

As he was leaving, he noticed the other room where I had my X-Box setup. Like a moth to ketchup, he couldn’t pass it up. I got him hooked on the X-Box and we played with the Kinect for awhile. I decided to take a breather and the parent and I started having a conversation. This is what library advocacy is all about having a conversation. I talked about the ideas I had for having more programs like making your own videogames, comic books, podcasting and so forth. In that conversation, I mentioned that while we have videogames in the library system, they are limited due to the collection being stolen and damaged. Whatever we have left over, there is always a waitlist. He asked if we take donations of videogames and of course, I said that I would. From that point, I had told them that I had leave for a shift at the reference desk but never got a chance to thank them for coming. I blew it.

After the reference shift, I had lunch but I opened up the room with my X-Box. I had played some Peggle and soon then change to playing Tony Hawk and just then I had two more teens show up. Thanks to my library co-worker, she directed this wayward teens to my room. I am so grateful for this and I got these teen to play for the past hour and still going strong. We talked about the Anime and Gaming events that I have scheduled and felt that now I didn’t blow it. Just then, the two from this morning came back to see me.

The kid that beat me on tennis was kind enough to donate three Wii games for the library. As you can see from the picture above, I am very, very moved by this gesture. So, as any good YA librarian should have set, I had created a goodie bag mangas samplers, a water bottle and a nice backpack. I thanked them both tremendously for their generosity. I also gave my other teens the same goodie bag with the promise of telling their friends and to come back with them. I feel totally awesome and vindicated as a YA Librarian. My ego needed some attention and got it in a great way.

Today was a good day to be a librarian. ‘Nuff said.