Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Windows XP at 10 - No Life Support

Businesses That Have Not Begun the Windows 7 Transition May Find Themselves Scrambling
A Microsoft official said the company has no plans to extend Windows XP's looming retirement date in order to give companies whose business systems run on the aging OS more time to migrate to a newer version of Windows--and that could be a problem for those who have yet to begin the transition.

"There's absolutely no chance" that Windows XP's April, 2014 end-of-life date, when Microsoft will end all support, will be extended, said Rich Reynolds, general manager for Windows Commercial marketing, in an interview.

Windows XP officially turned 10 years old on Tuesday. Microsoft introduced the software back in 2001, following development under the code name Whistler. It featured numerous enhancements compared to its most immediate predecessor, Windows 2000. XP introduced a streamlined, task-based user interface that allowed users to more quickly find their go-to applications and files through the Start Menu or lockable Taskbar. That, along with improvements to power management, faster startup, new networking features like Internet Connection Sharing, and a general reputation for stability, made XP Microsoft's most enduring enterprise OS to date. 

The company has had difficulty getting customers to upgrade to newer versions of Windows. Only a handful of enterprises moved to the widely-panned Windows Vista and it's only now, two years after its release, that businesses are starting to adopt Windows 7 in significant numbers. 

About 25% of all currently deployed enterprise systems are now running Windows 7, though 90% of businesses have a plan to migrate the OS, according to Reynolds. Reynolds said he's worried that businesses that have not begun the Windows 7 transition may find themselves scrambling as XP's expiration date draws near. "What we're concerned about is organizations that haven't started yet," he said. Aircraft manufacturer Boeing, which began upgrading its 187,000 employee desktops to Windows 7 last year, won't have the rollout finished until next year, said Reynolds.

"It takes anywhere from twelve to fourteen months to do the planning and application remediation," he said. Microsoft is offering a number of tools to help business plan and execute the move from Windows XP to Windows 7. 

Reynolds said very few organizations are planning to move directly from XP to Windows 8, which won't arrive until sometime next year and features a new, Metro-style interface borrowed from Windows Phone.
(Paul McDougall - InformationWeek on October 25, 2011)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Welcome Neillsville Public Library to V-Cat

Neillsville Public Library officially joined the Wisconsin Valley Library Service shared automation system, known as V-Cat on October 11, 2011.  The staff worked very hard to prepare for this switchover from their Follett automation system.  Overall, things went smoothly on their first day of using V-Cat (or the SirsiDynix Horizon automation system administered by WVLS)

At one point on Tuesday, staff had patrons anxiously waiting in line to register for their new library cards.  This was an exciting day for staff and the community.

We wish them success with the new system and welcome to V-Cat.
(Inese Christman, WVLS)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Reading Between the Lines

Apple 2e circa 1986

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."   -- Steve Jobs

Last night’s announcement of the untimely passing of Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc, launched me on a search through my old “Bookmark” weekly newspaper column archives for first mention of Apple computer use as a library professional.

The retrospective viewpoint that follows below is mildly hilarious given all that has transpired in the intervening 25 years. The terminology as well as the technology was all new. The floppy disks were huge and actually still “floppy” in our first Apple 2e, the workhorse of the Apple line which was manufactured from 1983 to 1994 and has the distinction of being the longest-lived Apple computer of all time. One of the smartest things I ever did back then was print paper copies of my columns as a backup. All those disks have long since gone the way of the dodo along with all the machines that could read them.

The Bookmark February 11, 1986

The subject today is computers. Thanks to the generosity of a grant obtained by the Wisconsin Valley Library Service, the Rhinelander District Library now has one! I’ve been writing the Bookmark on the computer for the past three weeks.

That might not seem remarkable to you confirmed “hackers” out there, but you have to remember that I worked in a Children’s Department with one functioning electrical outlet until January of last year. Because there was no place to plug in an electric check out machine, we were still using a pencil dater (rubber numbers held by a metal attachment stuck on a pencil) the way librarians did in 1898 when our library opened its doors. A computer was out of the question until our recent building project.

For the next couple of years, our new computer’s main function will be to help our library participate in a “retrospective conversion” project. The first time I heard that term, it made me think of something a person would do to soup up the exhaust system on a street rod. What it means is converting information about a library’s collection from the traditional card catalog format to machine readable cataloging records. It’s called “retrospective” because it refers to going back through a library’s entire collection rather than just beginning to computerize library materials purchased after a certain date.

First, we make sure that the library owns all the books we think it does by taking an inventory to compare the holdings list (or “shelf list”) against what is actually on the shelves and out in circulation. Then, we see how many of our books match entries already in the statewide data bank, adding our own special code to the existing computerized list so other libraries will know we have these titles, too. Finally the titles unique to our collection here in Rhinelander are entered into the computer so that others using the data bank will know where to find them. We store the information on floppy discs and mail them in to the state for central processing.

Being involved in the statewide data bank will make inter-library loans more efficient. Did you know that we already plug into a mighty inter-library loan network through our library system? Persons doing research in Rhinelander are able to borrow materials from other libraries around the state and nation, and even other countries. Our borrowers aren’t limited to the collection purchased with local tax dollars that’s housed within the four walls of the Rhinelander District Library.

You don’t have to worry that you will walk through the library doors someday soon and see a computer sitting where the card catalog used to be. A computerized card catalog may be in this library’s future, but not immediately. Another advantage of having our holdings list stored in machine readable form is that we will not have to go through the time and expense of keyboarding in all the book titles all over again should we decide to automate the checkout procedure or card catalog later on.

Meanwhile, the computer will also be used to make some of the daily tasks performed by the librarians easier and more efficient. We are still getting acquainted with our new “partner” and working to overcome the fear of pressing the wrong button and sending everything we have done to data heaven!

October 6, 2011

Those of you who have been hanging around WVLS as long as I have will recognize the “retrospective conversion” as part of the WISCAT project. Rhinelander’s new computer “partner” had been purchased by WVLS with LSCA (now LSTA) funds, enabling us to join the 300 libraries already contributing their holdings to a database that was then being distributed to participants on microfiche. Two years later WISCAT offered holdings from nearly 700 libraries on four searchable CD-ROM discs. It would be another five years before Rhinelander’s library began working toward implementing a stand-alone automated system leading to eventual V-Cat membership.

Check here if you’re curious about WISCAT history. Under the leadership of recently retired RL&LL Director Sally Drew, the project made a tremendous difference throughout the state, particularly for rural and school libraries. WISCAT continues to provide important linkage for libraries unable to afford higher priced alternatives.

Thank you, Steve Jobs, for being our modern Thomas Edison and changing the way we store, share and access knowledge. Librarians are the original search engines; you put some remarkable tools into our hands and gave us the courage to do more than this 1974 library school graduate ever thought possible….back then a "blog" was just a typo begging for whiteout.

Steve Jobs timeline

Steve Jobs quotes

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New Things Added to WPLC OverDrive Site

The news we have all been waiting for!
Library eBooks now available for Kindle.

Here is a newsrelease from the Wisconsin Public
Library Consortium (WPLC) that you can use and customize.

Kindle newsrelease, posters, flyers and graphics to customize
Here is the direct link to WPLC's Overdrive Kindle site.
There are 4951 available titles. Your customers will see the badge to the left on the Overdrive opening page so they can go directly to all the titles that work on Kindles.

In continued efforts to improve the user's experience,  OverDrive has added thousands of  free “eBook Samples” to the catalog for immediate access on reading devices and platforms. Patrons can experience stories immediately on their computer or mobile device and decide if they are right for them, ultimately reducing holds and wait lists.

When available, the word “Sample” will appear below a jacket. Curious customers can easily click and enjoy 10 percent of each title before deciding to check it out or not.

The eBook sample will show up in readers’ bookshelf and look just like a regular eBook download. With thousands of popular and bestselling titles to choose from, eBook samples will reinforce the library as the first stop for discovering and enjoying books, both online and off.

To read more see:

(Monday Memo, October 3, 2011 & WPLC List)