Web 2.0

The importance of disaster planning

Friday night we had a big storm come through Jefferson City. Power went out in places, tree limbs were scattered about, that sort of thing. At the library, we must have gotten some kind of power surge that knocked out one of our Universal Power Supply units and did some damage to its connected server. This is when I’m glad to have done the work involved in creating a disaster plan!
The server is still functional – it’s handing out IPs and such, but I can’t log into it at all, which means that if I didn’t have a disaster plan which lays out the hardware, software and network configuration of each server, I’d be hurting right now. As it is, I’m pretty lucky. It works well enough that I don’t have to rush configuring the replacement server and I just happen to have an extra server around, so I don’t have to order one.
As disasters go, this one was pretty mild. A fast trip to the library on Saturday morning to reroute the electrical connections and restart, then everything was going again. Heavy duty work can wait until I have time to do it this week. That’s nice – and it’s all due to my disaster plan!


Busy Wednesday!

Today wiped me out. I almost don’t have the energy to write about it, but I’ll make one last push for productivity before sitting down and vegging all evening (between loads of laundry, of course…).
This morning I was going to get to work early to get the PCC ready before our All Staff meeting, but I ran into a former high school teacher (and chaperon on my high school trip to Italy) at the local coffee shop I frequent and had to sit and chat with him for a bit. Once I got to work (about 7:50am), I counted money, got change for our register and started up about half of the PCC computers before it was time to go to the meeting. At 8:15 on the Wednesday morning after the 3rd Tuesday of the month (stop laughing, I couldn’t make that kind of schedule up if I tried!), our director gets all the staff who happen to be in the building together to tell us about the board meeting the night before, pick a name from the pile for the Employee of the Month program (everyone who was given a “You’ve Been Caught” going above and beyond the duties of your job during the course of the month is in that pile – the winner gets a gift certificate and a prime parking space – and a spot on our Intranet announcing their win – I forgot to add our winner to the that spot today, but I’ve already added it to RTM to remember for tomorrow!) and generally keep the staff up on the news of the library. During the meeting, my participation in Uncontrolled Vocabulary (UV) was mentioned, so I’m curious to see if any of my co-workers decide to join us tonight on the call! After the meeting I talked to Bobbi (about scheduling a time to talk about our upcoming Summer Institute 4-day workshop on Web 2.0 stuff) and our Linn Library Branch Manager about the issues she’s been having with her projector’s color (I think it’s the DVD that’s causing problems – we’ll see for sure tomorrow) and with our Collection Development librarian about getting information on the web about our “Capital Read” program and the author of our chosen book. Finally, after all that, I made it back downstairs to turn on my computer and start the day. I got about halfway through my email when the Children’s department called – they had a non-responsive keyboard on one of their desk computers. I grabbed a replacement and went upstairs to change it out, but didn’t have to. It was a bad USB port – move the keyboard to a new port, fix the problem! Back down to the basement to finish my email (which I ALMOST did) and there is another call – the people using the Art Gallery for a program had video, but no audio, from the VCR. I went upstairs, cleaned the air filter (there was a popup on the screen saying it needed to be done, so I did it while I was there) and turned the stereo receiver to the correct setting to get audio from the VCR. Back downstairs to finally sit down and check my blogs…
Except that the director, who was going to give me a tutorial in the use of Norton’s Ghost application to speed up deployment of computers, showed up. 3 hours later, after installing, setting everything up, and burning through about 15 floppy disks to find 2 good ones to use for the boot disks, we discovered that the network card on one of the machines refused to play along with us. By this time it was 3pm, I hadn’t had lunch yet and I was so irritated at the floppy disk situation that I dropped the whole project (with a note to the director telling him where I was in the process) for the day. After all that, I finally checked my “daily” blog folder to see what was going on in the world and went through the email that had accumulated while I was valiantly fighting floppies.
[sidebar] I’ll note that not once in this very long narrative has there been a single mention of Twitter, Facebook or Twhirl. I was completely disconnected from my social network today and it was no fun. [/sidebar]
After I closed down and packed up my office and talked to the afternoon PCC clerk and asked him to relay information to the evening PCC clerk, I headed over to our Administrative building and tried out 4 different desk chairs before deciding on the one that I want at my desk. When that was done (at about 4:30 – deciding on a chair is a lengthy process with lots of discussion required), I got into my car and headed home.
Now that I’m done with my day at work, I’m going to start on laundry and really work on getting some quality vegging time in before I call into UV tonight. Hope to see you all there!

update And I completely forgot to mention the work I did today on the Gmail migration – adding all the library user names, starting the DNS change process with MORENet and working out billing issues to get us upgraded to the Enterprise Edition. That was all sort of sprinkled in among everything else…

AWeekInTheLife presentations

My Tuesday

Tuesday is my “desk day”. This means that on most Tuesdays, I don’t even turn on my computer in my office… I get in around 8ish, open the PCC (count money, turn on computers, wipe down monitors/keyboards/mice, pick up trash left by yesterday’s patrons and get the desk machine ready for the day), check on backups and network traffic and spend some quality time with my co-workers in the smoking lounge (a corner of our driveway as far away from the building as they can put us…) before the patrons start to come in at 9am. This morning, I also went to our ILL librarian to check out why she couldn’t print from OCLC’s web page. I found a JavaScript error on the page and Nikki (my intrepid Computer Support Guru) forwarded it on to our Tech Services Manager to then forward on to OCLC. After that, I dealt with the influx of patrons at 9am, then joined Nikki at her desk to discuss the trouble ticket issues that have come in since yesterday. After giving her some advice on fixing email issues that have cropped up overnight (I hate Exchange mail, I can’t wait until I can offload that duty to Google…), I head back to the PCC desk to check on the patrons and check my email and FriendFeed “friends” tab.
After reading through all that (and seeing the flood of fixed trouble tickets from Nikki – Yeah! Our board report and stats this month are gonna look good!!), I head to Google Reader to catch up on the blogosphere. Hmmm, lots of “day in the life” posts. Interesting… 😉
One of the things I read about in my blog reading was the fact that Facebook now has “blog networks“. I installed the application and started adding blogs to my network. That was fun and killed some time until Nikki came out to take over the desk duties at 10:00.
After she relieved me on the desk, I answered a few emails, ordered a part for a projector, met with my boss (who totally made fun of the audio quality of my laptop on Uncontrolled Vocabulary last Wednesday, while I totally missed an opportunity to ask him for a raise so I could get a new laptop with better audio inputs…), and ate lunch. By noon, I was back on the PCC Desk.
I checked my email again, collated and counted numerous print jobs from the 30 computers that share our PCC printer, and looked for (and sorta found) a few classes for kids that I could steal borrow from kind folks on the Internet. I’ll try to have a full roster of classes for our Children’s programming coordinator by Thursday, but I’m having issues finding good quality “homework help” type of classes on the ‘net. Anyone out there got some they’d like to share?
At 2:00pm, my desk duties for the day were over!
Today, I did stick around long enough to turn on my desk computer. After it booted up, I checked email again, opened Twhirl to check on my FF friends and got to work. I responded to a vendor email about a possible new PC Reservation system, which promptly turned into a phone call when the sales rep called me because she had questions, and made arrangements to visit our library’s branch either tomorrow or Thursday to look into video projection issues they are having. I started to work on Ghosting the newest version of our OPACs, but realized I was missing a rather crucial hardware component, so I’ll be running to Best Buy this evening on my way to the library softball team’s game. Since that didn’t work out for me, I decided to upgrade our WordPress installation that runs our library’s blog. That worked just fine, and it might have fixed some of the issues Bobbi’s been having with tags and categories. I’ll find out for sure tomorrow, when she gets in to work.
I took off today at 4pm so I could pick my son up from the hospital at which he volunteers and headed home for the day. Now I’m finishing up this post and then I’ll be heading to Best Buy, Barnes & Noble (for a Venti White Chocolate Mocha Frappacino – perfect baseball watching refreshment) and then to cheer on our library’s softball team (Dewey Decimators are sooooo gonna win tonight!) before heading back home to get some sleep!
More tomorrow…



In response to my brilliant co-worker, Bobbi, I’ll be posting a running tally of just what it is I do all day during this week. I’m not sure this is a representative week, what with budgets due tomorrow and all, but this is the week that everyone else is doing it, so I suppose I will too! While the original concept was to illustrate what librarians do all day (or week, as the case may be), and I’m not really a librarian (I just play one on TV?), but a techie who happens to work in a library, this may not answer the original question. On the other hand, it may give a bit of insight into what exactly has to happen on the back-end for the front-line librarians to do their jobs!
So here it is, with no further ado, my Monday…

  • Come into work at 7:45am and start up the computer – go through mail while I wait
  • Check email, blogs and fire up Twhirl
  • Sent out email pointing to this week’s Library Learning 2.1 lesson
  • Check that backups ran and that none of the servers died overnight, make sure everything is working on the network
  • Count money in the PCC cash register
  • Talk to one of my staff who is going with me to Internet Librarian about what pre-conferences we can afford (not enough…) and get the one she wants from her
  • Spend an hour alternately chatting with Bobbi via GTalk, wondering why airline prices are changing by the minute, and buying airfare for the 3 folks going to IL while discussing hotel arrangements that Bobbi is making
  • Check email again before 11am meeeting
  • Budget and various other topics discussed for an hour or so
  • Fixed legal paper tray in Tech Services office
  • Lunch!
  • Added IP addresses from III (Millennium Automation System) so they could get into our server
  • Met with Children’s Programming Coordinator about reducing her network profile size
  • Went home a bit early so I could work on next year’s budget this evening
  • Added the winner of the You’ve Been Caught program to the staff website (way belatedly)
  • Registered myself and my staff member for IL 2008
  • Budget time!

The use of the Remember The Milk social task list helped a lot in remembering what I did all day! Check the LL2.1 blog post linked above for more information about that!!
More tomorrow!!

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