Second Life… again

Well, it turns out that Second Life doesn’t support my laptop’s graphics card.  grrrrr…  I figured that out after it crashed for the third time, and then I got the Blue Screen of Death.  So, I tried to download it onto the downstairs computer that we used to use as a TV, but it was super choppy due to low memory.  Then, I went upstairs to try it on my hunny’s super special computer only to find that the computer wouldn’t turn on.  *sigh* There are some major problems with the plugs in this apartment.  But once I got that problem taken care of, Second Life seemed to work fine. 

I got some free clothes for my avatar, looked around some of the lands, and talked to a couple of people.  I just wish that it worked on my laptop.


I decided that I should play with SecondLife since I’ll probably have to use it sometime in my college career.  I downloaded the program, made my avatar, and decided to make her look like me.  My hunny looked at the avatar and said “Huh… you lost weight in SecondLife.”  Should I have made myself into a furry animal instead?

The controls are a little strange, but I’m not sure how much of that is because I’m doing all this on my laptop, and how much of it is because of the way the program’s designed.  For instance, sometimes I want to see something other than my avatar’s backside… but I can’t figure out how to toggle the camera view yet.  I did figure out how to add myself to the SJSU SLIS group though.  Now it says “Spartan” above my name.

Either way, I’ll explore a bit more and play with it a bit more before I make any major decisions about it.  I did learn that I can’t have any other windows open or my lap top will crash.  I think it has something to do with the graphics memory or something. 

In other news… I have a partner for my Information Retrieval class.  We paired up based on a mutual love of zombie movies, books by Laurell K. Hamilton, and quilting.  My partner lives in Sacramento, though, so it might be a little difficult for us to get together in person if we ever needed to.

I know I should be counting my blessings about this, but school isn’t going as fast as I need it to go.  It’s the first week, and I know things will pick up considerably.  My only problem with this week’s pace is a matter of scheduling.  I’d like to get a better feel for how fast I need to go in these classes, and how much work I’ll need to do so that I can figure out how to budget my time.  Also, each teacher has modified BlackBoard to suit their needs, so the buttons are all in different places, and sometimes have different names.  It’s not a big deal, but it can be confusing.  I also wonder if any of the teachers will be posting lectures for us to listen to, if so how often and how long will they be?  Or will they just post their thoughts about the topics covered in the chapters?  Will they get involved in the Bulletin Board discussions, or just monitor them?  It’s definitely difficult to get a feel for the class and the teacher if it’s all online.  I thought I’d be very well prepared because the PACE program had some online classes, but to have ALL of them be in the distance ed format is very different.  *sigh*  I know I’ll get the hang of it, and I know this is just me worrying for nothing… but still, I worry.

Alright it’s way past my bedtime, so I should head to bed.  I have to be up sometime tomorrow to take care of the laundry and head to Chabot for a ballroom dancing class my hunny wants to take with me. 

What I learned while out sick

Even when I’m sick at home, I can’t just sit around doing nothing.  I can only watch so much daytime TV, and there are only so many words I can read on a page before I go cross-eyed… So, today I decided to look at SJSU SLIS’ videos of various presentations and lectures that have been done over the past two years.

One of the most recent videos was a lecture by Susan Hanks on California Tribal Libraries.  Although we don’t have a tribal library in the area that I know of, there were a few things she suggested that intrigued me.  The biggest idea that she spoke of was making sure that there were positive Native American stories in our libraries.  She discussed the problem of stereotypical Indian characters, and incorrect information found within children’s non-fiction books.  Ms. Hanks also explained why it’s necessary to display culturally sensitive Thanksgiving books in addition to the traditional Thanksgiving stories, specifically suggesting Giving Thanks by Chief Swamp.

Since I’ll have to use Second Life with the SLIS program sometime soon, I watched the presentation Second Life: 20 Lessons by Jeremy Kemp.  In this presentation, Mr. Kemp discussed the ways in which Second Life (SL) is different from typical online role playing games, and the things he has learned from this program.  He explained that SL is very community driven, and very “flat” in that there is no heirarchy and everyone speaks the same language.  While this is good, it doesn’t come without its problems.  In his words “Second Life is very beta” so you wouldn’t want to hold a live meeting in it.  But for what it does, it’s great.

Patty Wong of the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library presented on Community Outreach.  She discussed what her library has done to increase community involvement in their system. Ms Wong emphasized the importance of sincerity and genuine goodwill when creating relationships with the community. 

The SSJCPL recently underwent a complete overhaul, and created a dedicated unit for community outreach (they manipulated staff and resources).  Their unit focuses on literacy at all levels, mobile libraries, school visits, attending community events, partnerships, publicity and marketing.  Ms. Wong admitted that this is labor intensive and requires a lot of cultivation and negotiation, but she feels that this outreach unit has worked wonders.  They have gotten more books into more homes than they would have without community outreach.

The final presentation I watched was Young Adult Reading by Richie Partington.  This presentation was geared towards reading and school libraries for the Jr. High students, rather than High School students.  Having said that, Mr. Partington had some great tips that I thought translated well into public libraries.

Mr. Partington suggested a straight forward policy of allowing parents to deny the checkout of specific books for specific kids.  He said that the new circulation programs allow this, and that it will keep parents involved in what their kids are reading.  I don’t think something like this will work well on the scale of a public library, but it was intriguing.

He went on to say that it’s important for YA librarians to be knowledgable of what’s being taught in class so that they can make sure that they’re up to date on what’s new with books and make suggestions based on this knowledge.  Mr. Partington also explained the importance of teaching SLIS principles to the teachers first, and then to the students so that you can get the teachers’ help and backup when needed.  And of course, there’s the need to be tech savvy so that you don’t lose credibility when students ask you a question.

So that’s what I learned while I was sick.

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