Want To Participate?

February 27, 2008

Do you work in an academic library? Would you be willing to take a look at the survey I am putting together for my research project (for ILS680-Evaluation & Research)? I am piloting my survey about computer self-efficacy levels among academic library employees and am looking for feedback – comments or questions. If you have 15-20 minutes and are willing, please click here to take the survey. There is a comment box at the end of the survey – emails to either macaulayj1@southernct.edu or macaulay.jennifer@gmail.comare welcome, as are comments to this blog post. To anyone willing, thank you very much for your help!

Best Error Message Ever

February 23, 2008

While mucking around in LibraryThing this afternoon, there were some back end problems (I’m guessing). This error message made me laugh out loud:

Error: Rampaging elephant error. Hide the peanuts and try again later.

I hope it wasn’t something I did. I haven’t seen any elephants, but just in case, I hid the peanuts.  🙂 Somebody definitely has a sense of humor.

Comcast Is All Over The Place

February 19, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about some technical frustrationsI was experiencing. The biggest problem, at the time, was a sluggish internet connection. I mentioned in the post that Comcast is my ISP. I was rather shocked the next morning to find an email from somebody in Comcast’s executive office following up about the problem. We emailed back and forth a bit before he put me in touch with someone else. I was never able to actually talk to the other person due to difficulty trying to call during work hours (phone tag and other fun games). Of course, by the time I was in contact with the people at Comcast, the sluggishness of my internet connection was gone. I do plan to watch it. This was the third time that there were several days in a row where our connection was painfully slow. I do hope it never happens again, but one never knows.

Anyway, I tend to forget sometimes that anyone can read anything that I write on this blog. I forget that people and companies have ego feeds to keep them abreast of consumer opinion and the like. I almost felt embarrassed when I received the email from Comcast’s customer support. I mean, I hadn’t reported the problem to them directly. I wasn’t intentionally trying to express dissatisfaction with Comcast. Unlike Mark Lindner, I’ve have a pretty positive relationship with Comcast since they took over cable in my geographical area (but admit that I wouldn’t be at all happy in Mark’s situation either).

I will admit that I was a bit bothered by the information that Nicole Engard sharedon her blog about Comcast. I would be beyond annoyed if any of the sluggishness that I have experienced was a result of an intentional slowdown. When my school work is impacted, I tend to get quite surly. At this point, I will give Comcast the benefit of the doubt. As I said, I’ve been pretty happy with both our cable and internet services. Overall, internet speed at home has been far superior to speed at work. I do appreciate the effort that they are making to keep in touch with their users. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all will be well.

The Trials and Tribulations of ILS680 – Evaluation & Research

February 19, 2008

Today, I received formal IRB approval to start research/data collection for my ILS680 – Evaluation & Research project. This is a huge weight off of my shoulders. Last week, I was scrambling to get my application completed and get all accompanying material to my professor before she was off to give a presentation out of the country. I had forgotten to mail one critical piece of information to the professor and was getting stressed trying to mail/fax/email/upload/etc. the document to her before she was leaving. She ended up doing most of the running around to get the applications submitted – a big plus for students, especially distance students.

So far, this class has periods of intense activity followed by seemingly endless periods of inactivity where one has to wait for the next step. It takes a bit to get used to. But overall, I think the class is going much better than I had anticipated. This, of course, could be because I have a tendency to always fear the worst. But, I feel good about my research project. I’m excited about being able to start my research (although I admit I’m not looking forward to actually writing the paper).

My current working title is “Impact of Technical Support Models on Computer Self-Efficacy in Academic Library Employees.” Now, I can start thinking about the details. I have so much work to do, but I feel confident that I will be able to do it (Okay, maybe I’m trying to convince myself).

For The Love Of MARC

February 11, 2008

Today, I felt very librarian-y. I spent hours downloading, uploading, importing, exporting and editing MARC files, tweaking settings and then going through the process all over again. I might have had some trouble trying to keep my head from exploding (but that might also be because my cell phone/PDA DIED), but know that librarianship can’t get much better. Ok, I admit to being a bit sarcastic. Actually, I did enjoy mucking around with the MARC records once I was able to get all of the settings right. I don’t really want to admit that the settings might not be right and that I won’t find out until sometime tomorrow. Big sighs!!!!!!

The Agony Continues

February 11, 2008

My Palm Treo bit the dust – the cell phone portion will no longer work. I can either pay $50 to get a refurbished Treo or I can get a new phone with a new two-year activation. I’m not changing wireless providers, so I’m not opposed to signing a new agreement. I’m not sure I want to get the refurbished phone because now I’m annoyed (I have only had the phone for six months maybe). I want Windows Mobile OS which limits my choices. I guess I’m going to have to sleep on it – and go visit another wireless store tomorrow.

The Agony Of Defeat

February 7, 2008

All my life, I’ve pretty much thought that people payed way too much attention to sports – and yes, this was most likely because of my utter lack of athletic abilities. As a kid, I was not a sports fan. I dreaded Sundays because the only thing that we could watch on tv was sports – golf, baseball or football. As I got older, I grew to enjoy watching several sports including tennis, baseball and football. Golf, I still can’t stand. Despite the fact that I am now great fan of baseball and a rabid fan of football, I still find all of the hype and media attention extremely painful.

This past fall, however, I was utterly amazed by the sports high that surrounded life in New England. With the incredible season of the Boston Red Sox followed by their World Series win, a great season for the New England Revolution, a great start to the Celtics season and the incredible season of the New England Patriots, life as a sports fan was rather wondrous. Even non-sports people got caught up in the euphoria. People were happy. It was rather special.

Of course, the higher the high, the lower the low. It has almost seemed as if everything in life has a big, black cloud hanging over it for sports fans in New England since the Superbowl. Most people can’t/won’t/refuse to discuss the game and its outcome, feeling the need for some time to regroup and deal with what seems to be a significant personal loss. The weather, which has been cold, rainy and dreary since Sunday, hasn’t helped. Although I am a huge New England Patriots fan, and one who was certainly disappointed by the game’s outcome, I’m finding this entire phenomena fascinating. I’m amazed at the extent to which sports can capture and manipulate our psyches.

I sincerely hope that things will return to normal next week. To anyone who can control the weather, some sustained sunny weather would make us all feel much better!

Random Technical Frustrations

February 7, 2008

Lately, I have been having serious bandwidth issues with my internet connection at home (Comcast is my ISP). These slowdowns seem to last for several days – and I’m starting to get frustrated. Both the email portal and online class portal that are used at Southern Connecticut are fairly intensive applications. They do work well when my internet connection is working at normal capacity. However, both perform pretty poorly when there is any type of bottleneck. Tonight, it took over 5 minutes to log into the MySCSU portal, and at least that long to open each successive page. It didn’t take quite as long to log into the eVista online classroom site. Yet, this site was also sluggish. I was not able to upload or download any files. Fortunately, I knew that I was having issues and remembered to upload my latest files before I left work. 

While mentally whining to myself about my internet issues, I realized that this is really the first time in my tenure at Southern that I have had any serious technical difficulties. Given that my entire experience has been online, I am actually fairly impressed by this. I do know that others at school have some issues, but overall, I have been extremely lucky. Also, I think that Southern has done a good job with the web-based applications that are used in their distance programs.

Hopefully, my bandwidth issues won’t continue. I’m afraid that I am going to have a very limited ability to deal with these frustrations this semester. I know that I do not need any additional frustrations if I want to survive the next three months with my sanity intact. Here’s hoping!