Daily Thoughts 80: Game Videos Posted and Other Challenges

Author's Selfie I’ve had a busy weekend! This morning I enjoyed an opportunity to play test my game Wizardly Librarians with my victims (family). The play testing showed clear areas for improvement in the game. I filmed the test. The result (speeded up) is posted on the website at Shush Games. I also posted an introduction to the gameplay and some more images of card text. In the next iteration, I need to spend time working on the cards. It’s too difficult to add titles right now. That won’t be soon. I’ve got too much to do—including developing more games for upcoming assignments!

400-Word Challenge

2017 Writing Pledge Banner The 400-word writing challenge starts tomorrow. I plan to dictate on the drive to work. At this point I’m tracking manually with the spreadsheet template I’ve used in the past. I’ll post updates in my daily thoughts post, and track progress in the sidebar. I want to track the streak in terms of weeks, the number of weeks in a row in which I write 400 words for 5 days out of the week. I can take two days off each week, they don’t have to be sequential. Since I plan to dictate I should be able to meet the goal. I may not always have time to redraft what I dictate. We’ll see.

Daily Sketch Challenge

Artwork for 2017 sketching pledgeDo I need another challenge? No. Am I going to try another challenge? Yes. Crazy? Maybe. I know I have more than enough to do. The thing is—

It doesn’t have to be perfect.

I’m not doing this to produce finished drawings. I may not spend more than a couple minutes on a sketch. It could be a sketch of anything. A pencil. A rock. Shapes. It doesn’t matter. I’m going to sketch something and stop. I’m keeping the sketches small. No bigger than that challenge image. Template for sketch challengeIn fact, I’m going to use it as the template (minus my drawing of our dog). I’ll put the date at the bottom of each and share them here. It’ll give me a consistent frame in which to work on the challenge. Same rules as the writing challenge: draw 5 days each week, for 50 weeks. It’ll be a good practice to get out of my way and stop worrying about whether or not a sketch looks good. I’ll start it tomorrow as well.

 

Daily Thoughts 79: Wizardly Librarians

Author's Selfie I didn’t get much sleep last night. As I mentioned in my last post, I stayed up late. I’d meant to sleep in but as it turned out I didn’t. In fact, I woke up at about 3 AM and then stayed pretty restless and unable to sleep for the rest of the night and finally gave up a bit after 6 AM. Today still went pretty well, despite being tired. I finished a number of things for school.

Wizardly Librarians

Mostly, I’ve focused on my game for INFO287-11. Admittedly, I’m carrying it too far, but once the idea popped up I needed to make the game. I spent a good part of the day creating the 129 cards for the game (plus play order cards). They aren’t done. It’s a rough, initial alpha version to test out the gameplay. We played one game tonight and tomorrow I plan to record a game so that I can post a video to the website I also created for the assignment.

Did I mention that I took this too far?

screenshot, figuring out card distribution
Figuring out card distribution.
View of librarian cards
Librarian cards (artwork pending)

Okay, maybe I did take it too far. But I’m having fun!

Although set in a fantasy world, Wizardly Librarians focuses on an everyday process in libraries—filling hold requests. It’s a daily scavenger hunt. The game incorporates many other elements of libraries in a fun and engaging way. I’m looking forward to filming the video tomorrow.

Daily Thoughts 78: Standing Up at the Midnight Hour

Author's Selfie Midnight approaches! I hadn’t meant to stay up this late, except I had a lot to do for my classes, so late night studying! Most of the time I don’t have to stay up. My schedule this week made studying a bit more difficult.

Standing Up

At work, I have an adjustable height desk and spend most of my days standing up. I’ll usually only sit down when I take breaks, or when I’m working on things where I need to spread out work on the desk. Part of the reason I end up standing comes from years working in public libraries, standing at the desk.

Standing laptop deskI didn’t have a similar option at home until today. I ordered this height-adjustable laptop desk the other day. It didn’t take too long to put together. The whole thing is on wheels, easy to move, has space for textbooks and my thermos. The adjustments are manual, but it can also go down to a sitting height as needed. I find standing is helpful for my productivity—and it certainly helps me stay awake when I need to!

 

Daily Thoughts 77: Early Start, Busy Brain

Author's Selfie Today started early! And it followed a night when I couldn’t sleep. My schedule always has a degree of variability to it, but most of the time my morning routine is consistent. Not this week! Different days, different start times, it’s been all over the place.

Busy Brain

via GIPHY

I love new ideas! Too much sometimes. I think of a new idea and want to run with it right away. Being back in school encourages this behavior.

One of my classes focuses on gamification of information, or how we can use game elements to help with learning, exploration, and creation. I have an assignment to create a game this week. Not finished, polished, and beautiful, but a game with an information science focus.

I came up with a wonderful idea the other day in the shower. The idea didn’t work for the assignment, but then I realized I could use the same or similar game elements for a game targeted for the assignment and that led to even more ideas! I have other things to do over the next several days but I’m excited about this idea. I plan to have a working model of the game in a couple days so that I can film an initial gameplay attempt to turn in for the assignment.

The game idea keeps pulling my attention. I lay awake last night thinking about details. Hopefully, tonight will go better.

 

Daily Thoughts 76: Challenges

Author's selfie I managed to sleep most of the night without waking up! That’s a big deal for me. I did wake up an hour or so early, and then tried to sleep more but at that point, I was done sleeping.

Challenges

A few weeks back I posted about excuses and suggested a 400-word challenge. I hesitated at taking on the challenge slash made excuses for why it wasn’t a good idea.

via GIPHY

As if I didn’t know better. Seeing as that’s the case, I’m going to take on the challenge anyway!

2017 Writing Pledge Banner

Plus I made this pledge banner. The original said ‘novel’ but I’m not writing a novel. I plan to focus on short stories. I want to write more stories for DriveByStories.com and I want to write stories to submit for publication in some magazines.

Tracking

Of course, with any great challenge, comes great tracking. I’d like to have the awesome plugin that I thought about this morning. I’m not waiting for that to happen. Instead, I’ll track manually at the start and then if I end up creating a plugin, great! Or maybe I’ll find a plugin that I can use. I do have one I created, but I want to do it differently now.

I’ll post my progress in the sidebar on the site, and of course point out when I complete new stories.

Start?

I plan to start this next week, on the 21st, so that I get a full week (looking at my Tue-Sat work week).

Daily Thoughts 75: Procedures, Hurrying, and Legion

Author's selfie Back to work today, catching up on a variety of tasks that happen behind the scenes in libraries, e.g., one thing I worked on today was our internal list of performers. Exciting, right? That one thing took working with the software used on our intranet, checking files, updating records, and talking with other people who care about what is tracked and who does what with the information. That was only one thing. Look around when you’re out. Notice how many businesses and government buildings there are around you. Try to get a sense of how many people work in that location. What do they do? How many details go into everything we do? It’s one of the things that often gets lost, simplified, and trimmed down in fiction. Mostly, I think, because it is seen as an uninteresting topic. Unless you’re writing a police procedural, then maybe you’ll get a sense of some of the procedures involved.

Hurrying

No matter what I’m doing, I try to fight the desire to hurry. It’s hard. I have more to do than I have time. More novels to write, things to learn, pictures to create, programs to write, and changes to make. There’s always a sense of wanting it now. At least when I don’t just want to go to sleep. My desire to sleep wars with my desire to get more done and is ultimately the undisputed champion. Sleep wins sooner or later. Like death, just less permanent.

Legion

Yesterday we watched the first episode of Legion.

I enjoyed it! Not much of a surprise. I also enjoy the other Marvel shows (and movies). Originally I was always more of a DC fan (can you say Batman?), but Marvel has done a good job with the movies and shows. I’m looking forward (when I find the time) to seeing more of this one.

 

Daily Thoughts 74: Valentine’s Day

Author's selfie I’m tired today! Packing up a library yesterday (moving all of the boxes from the library to the container) left me worn out. I logged over 17,000 steps yesterday on my FitBit. I had errands to run this morning. The car needed an oil change and I needed to get my cholesterol tested. I took today off work. Normally I’m off on Monday. Since I ended up working, I took today instead. Not the most romantic day!

Other than errands, fasting this morning, and feeling worn out from moving the library yesterday, I spent most of the day working on an assignment for my Gamifying Information class. It included a graph (assessing Pokémon Gothat took me too long to figure out how to create:

Pokémon Assessment graph

On the other hand, it was a great exercise to learn some additional skills. The rest of the assessment was more narrative-based.

Daily Thoughts 73: Data Selfie and Packing a Library

Author's selfieI spent a good part of the day boxing up a library. For much of that time, I moved and stacked the boxes of books. It isn’t a big library, so we were able to box up the entire collection in just a few hours.

 

Data Selfie

I found out about this extension today. It shows you the sorts of data that Facebook collects. Looks interesting!

Daily Thoughts 72: Powerless

Author's selfie I’m busy these days with the iSchool. I spent time today reading in the car while Kate took Xander with her to take care of the shopping. We ended up with a bit of a traumatic event. She texted, asking me to come in to take Xander to the restroom. I escorted him in and he finished his business first and went to wash his hands, not realizing I wasn’t following him. Then he thought (for some inexplicable reason) that I had already gone out. He went out, didn’t see me, and panicked! I heard him yell. By the time I zipped and went after him, he had already bolted down the hallway yelling for me.

I gave chase. Helpful folks pointed which way he’d gone. He’d already made it down the line of registers hollering for me before he heard me and turned around. It’s a powerless feeling when your kid suddenly takes off.

Powerless

Speaking of Powerless (I wasn’t, but now I am), we watched the first two episodes today.

It’s a fun DC comedy series with Alan Tudyk and Vanessa Hudgens. I wasn’t familiar with Hudgens. I mostly wanted to watch it because of Tudyk, and it looked funny. It’s silly. Everyone in the city is jaded because of the constant superhero destruction and Hudgens’s team must come up with inventions to protect people. I’ll be curious to see where it turns up.

My other superhero fixes right now include Luke CageLegionArrowFlash, and looking forward to Doctor Strange. I just don’t have much time to watch any of them right now.

Daily Thoughts 71: Ten things we know to be true (about libraries)

Author's selfie Years ago Google published their philosophy as Ten things we know to be true. It has been discussed and shared many times. I wanted to see how well the 10 things apply to libraries.

10 True Things About Libraries

  1. Focus on the user and all else will follow. True, except that libraries don’t always follow this one. Unfortunately, some of the things done in libraries have more to do with library employees, or the library’s way of doing things, than users. One example, Dewey’s classification system. Though some libraries are looking for ways to address the problems. The lack of focus also shows up in hours and days of operation. I think many people would prefer the library to be open longer on the weekend than mid-week, but that’s usually not the case.
  2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well. Google does search. What is the one thing that libraries do? I think most people will say loan books (and movies, magazines, etc). Do libraries do it really, really well? Probably not as well as we could.
  3. Fast is better than slow. I agree completely. And I think this is an area in which libraries need to make a greater effort. It applies to many areas in different ways. It was also one of the original Five Laws of Library Science, “Save the time of the reader.”
  4. Democracy on the web works. Libraries, mostly, aren’t on the web. Our collections and records don’t turn up in web searches. There are efforts to change this with linked data, but we still have a way to go. Plus, we need to find ways for our users to help.
  5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer. Completely true and relevant to libraries. You’re mobile and the library, less so. That too should be changing, but how many librarians are a Hangouts call away?
  6. You can make money without being evil. Libraries aren’t focused on making money, although money does help with things like buildings and books. Libraries could do a better job of making it easy for people to support the library.
  7. There’s always more information out there. Librarians know this well, only we don’t always approach things in the best possible way. I believe that librarians need to innovate and do more to lead in the information age. It should have been librarians developing search engines, social networks, and other key technologies. Nothing prevents it now. What does the future of the internet look like?
  8. The need for information crosses all borders. Libraries tend to have narrow borders. A city, county, consortia, or district. We need to work to lower those borders rather than building walls.
  9. You can be serious without a suit. I think librarians have this nailed. They’re a great quirky, diverse bunch of people who know how to have fun.
  10. Great just isn’t good enough. True. Librarians need to embrace this and strive for further improvements. Let’s inspire people to become radical supporters of libraries hungry for more! On Google’s page they say “Even if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, finding an answer on the web is our problem, not yours.” Librarians could easily say the same thing, crossing out the web. “Finding an answer is our problem, not yours.” Let’s make it easy for people to find what they want. I always tell people that search is only going to get easier, not harder. Google and all of the other companies are innovating all the time. Librarians need to find new ways for everyone to find and access what they want.

There it is. Google’s philosophy as a lens for libraries. What do you think? How do you see libraries changing?