Amazon Kindles are all well and good but it’s just not the same as a real book is it? (Plus I can’t help but image a Kinder Egg whenever I hear mention of the Kindle – is that just me?!). So many people are against e-books and e-book readers due to the loss of the emotion attached with reading a real book and I can certainly sympathise with that view.

So the discovery of the LIVRE (via Engadget) was an exciting moment (well, as exciting as you get with regards to e-book readers!). It’s currently a concept produced by a student from Monash University but I really think this is the way readers have to go if they want a serious marketshare over paper books. I personally like using e-books for studying with the massive advantages that they’re always available from wherever you are (particularly useful for distance learners like myself), but I still love to settle down and read a good book. I really can’t imagine myself being converted to an e-book for leisure reading but this is definitely a step in the right direction for e-book readers.

I recently came across Google Calendar almost by accident, I was aware of it before but had never used it as we have Outlook Exchange at work and I have my trusty FiloFax as well as my iPod touch for my own scheduling.

I was trying to publicise some drop-in information skills sessions we hold and spent ages constructing a suitable table in HTML, then inputting all the basic details which linked to a booking form for sessions where we have limited places. I then tried to find a way to give more details on the workshops and investigated using JavaScript popups, which looked great but manually coding it all was a nightmare on our restrictive CMS, especially when you need to edit or add more workshops at a later date.

At around the same time I read a blog post about Google Calendar so had a proper look at it. On the surface it’s pretty much what you’d expect from a calendar but when you utilise the ability to share calendars and produce embeddable widgets it really is a great tool.

It took only a matter of minutes to create a new calendar for our information skills sessions, schedule them and add in details including a brief description of the session and a link to the booking form where necessary.

Google Calendar Widget

I created a widget for the calendar, customized it to suit our needs (all done using Google’s widget creator) and added to our webpages (see screenshot above). Now users can find all the information they need in an easy to use table (which they can view in a list which I’ve chosen as the default or as a weekly or monthly view). Clicking on the title of a workshop causes the table to expand to give more details. If they currently use Google calendar they can also add the schedule to their calendar or individual sessions they wish to attend. I’m not sure if anyone will use this in our case but it would certainly be useful for instantly adding a series of shared meetings or a lecture timetable.

I’ve started using Google calendar as a personal calendar also, although I still have to use Outlook for work purposes (I am able to export and import between the two which is handy). I particularly like intelligent adding of events such as “Team meeting tomorrow 10-11” rather than having to complete numerous fields for every event. I’ve also been able to add my to do list to Google calendar using ToodleDo, a web based to do list.

All in all I think Google calendar is a great tool, particularly for shared calendars and it’s still in Beta so new developments are still being added. I can see tools like this being used more and more in organisations.

Has anyone else any positive/negative experiences of Google calendar or of any other useful calendar tools?

I’ve already briefly discussed the iPod Touch in an earlier post but now that I’ve had one for over a month I thought it was about time for a blog post about my thoughts on it.

I guess strictly speaking this is not directly related to libraries, but I imagine the implications of mobile technologies and particularly mobile web browsing will effect libraries and services of the future, it’s certainly made me think more about interoperability of our web pages and catalogues for users accessing them on different devices.

I’ve been using my iPod Touch on an almost daily basis since getting it at the end of December (much to the annoyance of my partner who doesn’t like the attention it’s getting!). I love having a mobile browser and have got it working on the WiFi at both home and work. It’s great for all those “Oh I forgot to look up…”, “That sounds interesting, tell me more” moments (I don’t know about you but I have many of these!).

Since the update following MacWorld last month (which by the way, I paid the £12.99 for and personally think it was worth every penny despite the hoo-ha) I’ve been checking my e-mail using the e-mail application which really is excellent. The Google Maps application is also great and I particularly like the feature of adding a pin and linking it to your contacts for people’s addresses. I’m finding out about more and more web apps on an almost daily basis and can’t wait for the SDK release hopefully later this month which should mean more applications for both the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Earlier today larger capacity models have been released (32GB for the iPod, 16GB for the iPhone) which I imagine will help improve sales of the Touch for some who feel 16GB isn’t enough storage for their music and movies.

I think these developments with hardware and software are really exciting and have nerdily been getting more and more excited by Apple developments as well as widgets and apps which are getting better and better and allowing so much more flexibility with the way we work.

Anyone else as excited as me about future technological developments or am I turning into a complete sad case?!