Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Break Power Down Challenge

The Penn Power Down Challenge is a University-wide initiative to reduce unnecessary energy consumption over winter break. Electrical devices contribute significantly to Penn's carbon footprint and utility bills, but increasing numbers of Penn's staff are planning to reduce energy use over the holidays by turning off, unplugging, and powering down.*

The savings can be impressive! A desktop computer and monitor left on over break can consume more than 100 Watt-hours, even when not in use. Turning off the computers in an office of 300 would save $700 over the holidays! With 28,000 faculty and administrative staff at Penn, the savings add up quickly. Almost all electrical devices continue to draw power when plugged into an outlet. Any device with remote control operation draws power while on "standby." Any charger with an adapter, such as a laptop or phone charger, draws a small amount of power even when the device is unattached. Although small, these electricity drains add up when multiplied across the campus!

In research facilities equipment may need to operate continuously to store specimens, maintain calibration or collect data - and select computers may need to remain powered to allow remote access. While this essential equipment cannot be turned-off, please survey your workplace and consider turning-off or unplugging any non-essential equipment during the winter break - and support the Penn Power Down Challenge!

Power Down and Unplug
  • Holiday lights and other decorative lights
  • Computer monitors and speakers
  • Laptop computers and chargers
  • Printers, copiers, scanners, and fax machines
  • Phone chargers
  • Coffee makers, microwaves, and other kitchen appliances
  • Clock radios
  • Televisions, DVD, and CD Players
See the /Power Down Challenge/ website
http://www.upenn.edu/sustainability/powerdown.html for more information:

Thank you for your participation! Energy conservation is important to the University, and can not be achieved without your help. /Please share this information with your co-workers, and thanks for making Penn a greener campus./

Christmas Vacation

We're showing National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Come join Clark Wilhelm "Sparky" Griswold, Jr. and the fam on their search for the perfect Christmas tree...

Nightmare Before Christmas

We've moved on to Nightmare Before Christmas. C'mon down!

Christmas Story

Join us today in the lab, where we're showing the holiday classic "Christmas Story" on the big screen. Don't you just love streaming Netflix? We're here all day, so if you have a suggestion for a follow up movie, let us know!

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Retouch Too Far

Just because you CAN remove wrinkles with image editing software doesn't mean you SHOULD--with great Photoshop skill comes great responsibility. England has apparently banned a set of Olay ads featuring retouched aging supermodel Twiggy due to deceptive advertising practices. Apparently it wasn't a skin cream that removed those wrinkles after all:

"...since Olay admits to "minor retouching" around Twiggy's eyelid area (essentially wiping out any indication of undereye darkness, bags, and fine lines), we know the cream is not really her secret. Instead it's a skilled computer technician, which is something you just can't bottle and sell for $23.89. Nor is this "secret" available to most women."

Shocked? Me neither.

Full article at http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/beauty/twiggys-photoshopped-olay-ads-banned-in-england-554961/

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Deleting files

Hi all. Just a reminder that we'll be deleting all of the files in user storage, in class storage, and on the desktops of all of the workstations in the lab at the end of this semester, so if you need to save any files, please make arrangements to copy them over to your own drive before December 23.

It's kind of important, so I'll say it again:


Monday, December 14, 2009

Facebook Privacy Settings

Facebook is tinkering again with privacy settings; this time giving you simplified yet powerful controls that help you get a better handle on what you share. The downside is the same controls could reveal a great deal more about yourself than ever before if you are not careful. Here is a look at the changes and how you might be affected.

Read the full article from PC World at http://www.pcworld.com/article/184465/facebook_privacy_changes_the_good_and_the_bad.html

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Just what you need

Stop by the lab and grab a piece of dark or milk chocolate--just what you need to get you through this hectic time of year.

Friday, December 4, 2009

How to Make it in Film

Love film? Interested in making your passion a career? Come learn how! This Saturday, we at GPSFF are pleased to be hosting an expert panel, "How to Make it in the Film Industry". The event is free and free food will be provided!

THIS Saturday December 5th from 12-1:30pm
Location: Room G17 of Claudia Cohen Hall at the University of Pennsylvania
249 South 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA (corner of 36th and Spruce)

Experts include:
Marc Simon - Award-winning writer and producer
Emory van Cleve - Cinema Studies Professor
Glenn Osten Anderson - Tech-guru and award-winning documentary-maker.
Mark Moskowitz - Director of Slamdance award-winning film, "Stone Reader."
Kat Phillips - A multi-award-winning writer/filmmaker.

Check out the facebook link at: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=172317630339&index=1

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Lost and Found

This is a busy time of year (see previous post), and people often leave things behind in the lab.

Anything "valuable" (money, eyeglasses, wallets, hard drives, PennCards, USB flash drives, laptops, other electronics, etc.) gets taken up to room 240 to the Business Office (They're open on weekdays 9-5. Ask for Jean, Bob, or Bryan).

Other items (clothes, umbrellas, books, etc.) get taken down to the Rosengarten Reserve Desk. Check for your lost items in those locations.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


As you may have noticed, we have gotten busy. Like, crazy busy. We brought a few laptops into the lab from the seminar room to add to our capacity, but we're still overflowing. My best advice is to:

1) Do as much work as you can on your own computer, if you're able, in order to minimize your dependence on the lab.

2) Come to the lab first thing in the morning (we open at 9 on weekdays, and noon on weekends) in order to maximize your chances at getting a workstation.

3) Remember that you can find most of the Adobe CS4 software (the same titles we have in the lab: Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, InDesign, Flash, Bridge) on the PCs out in the WIC, on the workstations in the Rosengarten Computer lab and the Long Island Friends computers on the ground floor, and on the Class of 1937 computer lab on the 5th floor.

4) You may be able to download a free trial version of the software you need onto your own computer. For example, Adobe makes 30 free trials available at http://www.adobe.com/downloads

5) Remember when we told you not to wait til the last minute (you know who you are)? TOLD YOU SO! (That's not useful advice so much as it is just me taunting you.)

We've also scheduled extra lab consultants, but there will never be enough of us to go around, so please bear with us as we try to help everyone during this hectic time of year.

Google Books Settlement: Books, Computers, and the Law

For those of you interested in copyright, Google, books, and the way those 3 things intersect...

Today at 2PM
Rush 014

James Grimmelmann, of New York Law School, will review the history of the Google Books project, lawsuit, and proposed settlement, then discuss the questions it raises for information policy and the rule of law. These touch on issues of copyright, antitrust, privacy, free speech, and civil procedure, and are connected to bigger themes in public policy. Special bonus topic: what does scanning books in libraries have to do with laying fiber-optic cable along old railroad rights-of-way?

Good background reading:


Co-sponsored by Earle Mack Law School

Monday, November 30, 2009

1.5TB External Hard Drive for $99

Need I say more? Oh yeah: Free Shipping.


[Update: that one finally sold out, too. Gotta be fast!]

New Video Cameras

Exciting News! We just added 9 new video cameras to our equipment lending program. They're Aiptek Action HD GVS camcorders. Here's what you need to know:

The cameras record to SD or SDHC memory cards (not to tapes) that you will need to provide. Currently, the Computer Connection sells 4GB cards for $16 and 2GB cards for $13. You can figure out for yourself which is the better deal.

The cameras shoot in HD (1080p, 30 frames per second) at about 4GB per hour. They shoot standard definition (more than adequate for most people's needs) at only 2GB per hour.

The cameras also function as 5 megapixel point-and-shoot still cameras. The quality is a little better than you'd get from a 5 megapixel cell phone.

Although they do shoot in HD, and they do a good job, they are not quite the same quality as the Sony and Canon HD cameras we lend, and they don't shoot a very wide angle. But they are much smaller, lighter, cheaper ($200 replacement cost), and easier to use.

If you're curious, you can read the manual online at http://media.sas.upenn.edu/mms/manuals/manual-agvs.pdf

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hard drive deals

I hope you've all been looking at the various Black Friday deals online. Circuit City has this 640GB drive for only $119.00. It's a good deal, and I love this kind of hard drive. It's portable enough that I just keep one in my bookbag all the time. It holds a huge amount of video, photos, or music.


[Update: They're now sold out. See? I told you it was a good deal.]

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Equipment extensions for TG Break

Hi all. Our online equipment lending system only allows you to borrow equipment for up to 3 days at a time. But since Thanksgiving vacation is coming up, we'll be glad to extend your reservation until Monday, November 30 if you ask us when you come into the lab.

Google Sidewiki

Google announced "Sidewiki" late last month. Basically it allows ANYONE to leave comments on ANY webpage that are viewable by EVERYBODY. (or at least everybody who has Sidewiki installed) You need to install the Google Toolbar to enable the features (we do not currently have it installed here in the lab). Once it's installed, you can visit any webpage and leave your own comments, as well as read those by others. To help reduce the effect of comment spam, users can vote on whether they find a given comment useful or not. Comments are not anonymous per se, as they are tied to an individual's Google account.

The good thing about this tool is that it puts so much power into the hands of users.

The bad thing about this tool is that it puts so much power into the hands of users. (A Google search will bring up plenty of angry comments from corporations who are upset that they have no control over the comments users leave about their site, and no way to opt out of the system.)

After installing the Google Toolbar and enabling Sidewiki, visit http://maps.google.com/ to see how a user left instructions on how to find coordinates for any given location. How great is that? One user sharing his knowledge and expertise directly with the people who are coming to the webpage where they most need that information.

Another interesting page to check out (again, after installing Sidewiki) is http://www.comcast.com/. The CEO was smart enough to jump in first and leave a welcome message to others using sidewiki. It's followed by a list of more negative comments (not surprisingly).

And another is at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19190315 where someone left their comments on a specific article.

One way I was thinking it might be useful to library users is that it could allow users to leave comments or reviews about individual library resources or even individual books. I think this would work for main webpages (http://repository.upenn.edu or http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/, for example) but not so well for books in Franklin, since the URL for a book record page changes each time you visit it (to the best of my knowledge).

More info at http://www.google.com/sidewiki/intl/en/learnmore.html

Twilight Parody

All of you readers who like the Twilight books and movies (like me, 12 year old girls, and ANTH160 students) may enjoy this SNL parody from a while back:

And Conan O'Brien did his thing for the New Moon release:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Closings this week

We'll be closed tomorrow (Tuesday, November 24) for a class from 10:30-Noon. Sorry for any inconvenience this might cause.

Also, we'll be closed this Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving, but we'll be open Saturday 12-5, and Sunday 12-9.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Magic Mouse has Landed!

Yes, we have the magic mouse! They just arrived in stores today, as best I can tell, and I picked up three of them for the lab. Ask a lab consultant if you'd like to try one out.

The entire top surface of the mouse is touch sensitive. It has a left and right mouse button, and then you can drag along the top to scroll up-down or left-right. If you use two fingers to scroll left-right, you can use it as a back-forward control for your web browser. It has a very different feel in your hand than the mighty mouse, which we've been using so far. It runs on AA batteries, and I'm not sure how long they'll last. Probably the best bet would be to use rechargeable NiMH batteries to save on money and be kind to the environment.

Feel free to leave comments on this post to let us know what you think.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Hue Slider

It's true, you know.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Documentary Filmmaking Workshop

Thursday, November 19, 5:00-6:00pm
WIC Seminar Room, Van Pelt Library 1st floor, West

Come learn how to get started on making a documentary - from lining up interviews, shooting video to editing and trailer creation. Jacob Finkel, SAS undergraduate, made his first documentary film in 2005, and founded the non-profit Corporation for Civic Documentaries. Jacob is directing a documentary on former Senator Harris Wofford (D-PA). Sen. Wofford counseled Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., advised President Kennedy, helped create the Peace Corps, is a powerful advocate for National Service, and was an early supporter of the Obama campaign in Pennsylvania. The film has been in production for sixteen months and includes many interviews, including ones with Sen. Ted Kennedy, Gen. Colin Powell, Bill Moyers, Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, and former President George H.W. Bush.

Sign up online!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fun Photoshop Examples

Some great photoshop manipulations over at 10Steps.sg, done by a variety of people. Check them out:


Closed Wed 4:30-6

Just wanted to let you know we'll be closed tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov 11) for a class from 4:30-6pm, so please try to plan around it in case you need to work in the lab or pick up/return equipment that day.

Google Chrome Frame

I just became aware of this last week, when I discovered that Microsoft's infamous web browser, Internet Explorer, lacks the technology to run Google Wave. The folks at Google, realizing the IE is still the most widely used browser around, wrote a plugin that allows IE to switch over to the far more advanced Google Chrome engine, thus allowing it to support certain HTML 5 and Javascript functions that it otherwise would be unable to cope with. And the plugin is open source, so you can check out the code before installing it, if that's really your thing.

Of course, the far wiser thing to do would be to simply switch to Firefox. But that's not an option for everyone, especially in certain work environments. So for those folks, there is Google Chrome Frame. Check it out (and install it) at http://code.google.com/chrome/chromeframe/

Monday, November 9, 2009

The dangers of tunnel vision

Our own David Lei has a column in today's DP on the SEPTA strike. Check it out.

Outsource your photo scanning projects

If you're like me, you have a box (or ten) of old photographs sitting in the back of your closet. You probably forgot they were even there until I just reminded you. Sure, you could lug them out, bring them into the media lab, and spend the next 4 weeks scanning them. Or... you could pay someone else to do it for you, such as one of the vendors (ScanDigital.com, DigMyPics.com, and ScanCafe.com) that Macworld took the trouble to review.

Read the article at: http://www.macworld.com/article/143504/2009/10/outsourcescanning.html?lsrc=rss_main

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chrome Extensions

DownloadSquad has a list of 15 great extensions for Google's Chrome browser. I didn't even know there were ANY extensions available for Chrome, let alone 15 great ones. It's a really nice web browser, and I'd totally put it on the Macs in the lab if, you know, they'd MAKE a version for Macs. Anyhoo, here's the list for the PC-enabled among us if you're interested:


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Book Spotlight: iMovie 09 and iDVD The Missing Manual

We've got David Pogue & Aaron Miller's popular iMovie and iDVD book here in the lab for you to use--just ask the lab consultant on duty if you don't see it on the shelf.

From Amazon.com's review of the book:

The first three chapters show how to prepare your video before using iMovie and include lots of professional filmmaking advice. The chapters on editing are the heart of the book. They systematically take you through each feature and menu--working with clips; adding transitions, titles, and sound; and saving and exporting your work. Since this isn't an official manual, Pogue is free to point out iMovie's shortcomings. In sidebars, he shows how to exploit features iMovie does have to mimic features you get only with more expensive software--for example, how to create multiple simultaneously superimposed titles (great for wild typographic experiments) or how to "pot down" the soundtrack music to allow a voiceover.

To make better choices while saving your movie, the book discusses each of the save options, as well as how QuickTime works--in detail. Also, the book doesn't just suggest what software to use to burn a QuickTime movie onto a CD-ROM, it also shows how to make a Video CD. It even includes the HTML necessary to embed your movie into a Web page. In fact, this book contains an impressive amount of info. It's easy to jump in at any point in the text and discover some idea so exciting that you just have to boot up iMovie right away and get creative.

We have iMovie 09 (the latest version) installed our workstations, but just in case you're using the previous version (iMovie 08), we've got an older edition of the book, too. So make sure you're reading the right one.

As always, we ask that you use our books here in the lab rather than taking them to other parts of the library.

The Last Guy

This has been my favorite Playstation 3 game for the last week or so, ever since I downloaded it from the Playstation Network--worth every penny of the $10 it cost. It's called "The Last Guy." Unlike most Zombie games, there is no shooting or killing of zombies involved. But there is heck of a lot of running away from zombies.

The game takes place in various zombie-affected cities around the globe (I'll let you know if there's a level in Philly), and part of what makes the game so compelling is that the cities are actual satellite photos like those you might find in Google Earth, so you can really see/visit real locations you may be familiar with. You run around the city and gather up other survivors, leading them in an ever-growing line behind you, all the while avoiding Zombies, and ultimately leading your followers back to the safety of the Escape Zone where they will be airlifted to freedom.

Of course there are different types of zombies, each with its own special attributes, and there are power-ups to aid you toward your goal of avoiding them, and there's thermal vision, which helps you locate hiding survivors.

Here's a video someone nicely posted to YouTube of the first level, Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. Watch it in HD for a better view:

So what are YOU playing these days?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Flickr's new App Garden

Flickr just announced that they have a new spot on their site for the various and sundry Flickr-based applications that have popped up over the years. These are mostly applications developed by regular folks like you and me who have taken advantage of the API that Flickr generously made available to the world at large.

These includes apps like...

retrievr which let you sketch a quick drawing, and then it searches flickr for photographs that look familiar.

Spell with Flickr which lets you type in a word, and then it returns images of letters from flickr which spell out your word or phrase (see the title image for this post)

flump which lets you download all of the public photos for a specific Flickr account.

Often these apps are even open source, meaning you could download them and alter them to improve on them.

Check out the full App Garden at http://www.flickr.com/services/

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Comic Life Magiq for ANTH 160

Here are a couple Comic Life Magiq links for those of you in Dr. Krasniewicz's "Mythology and the Movies" class:



Also, remember the Comic Life Magiq has a built-in help feature in case you get stuck trying to figure out how to do something.

Of course you know, this means war...

Oh i just love this. Adobe has apparently decided to let iPhone users where the real blame lies in the fact that they can't run Flash apps on their device:

My guess is that most disgruntled iPhone users (such as myself) were already aware that the fault lies with Apple, but Adobe is now clarifying for the masses. Adobe is clearly champing at the bit to make Flash available for iPhone users like you and me, so why won't Apple allow it?

(diatribe begins here.)

Easy: Money. SURPRISE! Flash opens up a whole new way for application developers to get their software onto your iPhone--without having to go through the iPhone App Store. Combine that with Apple's unwillingness to loosen its iron grip on control of everything that goes onto your phone, and you end up with the current situation.

To be fair, the iPhone wouldn't be anywhere near as popular as it is now without the app store, and the App Store wouldn't be as popular as it is now if Apple let every Tom, Dick, and Harry upload their crappy, bug-ridden software for you to download and crash your phone with.

Still, it all seems a little too parental to me. It's MY phone. Let me put what I want on it, and given the number of Flash-dependent websites out there (after all, 98 plus percent of desktops already have Flash installed. Apple actually had to stop airing an ad in the UK claiming “All the parts of the internet are on the iPhone=” because the lack of Flash and Java support were enough to get the ad yanked), it shouldn't be too surprising that I want Flash! So open up your email client and let Apple know they should get on the ball on this one. Or maybe better yet, write to Adobe and tell them you love their new error message!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Screen vs Print Resolution

Let's talk about resolution for a minute.

Every image on your computer is made of pixels--tiny little dots, each a different color, which, when viewed as a whole, make up an image. When you print that image out, the more pixels you can cram into the same amount of space (called resolution), the more detail your image has. Basically, the higher the resolution (measured in dots-per-inch or dpi), the more detail your image is capable of holding.

Here is a simulation of an image at 3 different resolutions, from highest on the left to lowest on the right:

Setting the resolution of an image in Photoshop (or other image editing program) has zero effect on the size the image appears on screen. Zip. Zilch. It's only the pixel dimensions that matter when you're looking at a picture on a monitor (unless, of course, you zoom in or out, but that's cheating). On the web, your computer will show the image at the full size--each and every pixel. So if you want to change the size of the image on the screen, you need to change the actual pixel dimensions. So the conventional wisdom that says to set your images at 72dpi for the web actually has no effect at all! (By all means, test it out if you don't believe me.)

On the other hand, when your image prints out, the printer isn't concerned with the overall number of pixels in the image. It's just concerned with how close together (ie. the resolution) it should print them. Of course, the more pixels you have to start with, the more you can raise the resolution and still have a high-quality print.

So keep this in mind when your sizing your images for output--screen or print.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Improve your photography with classical art

This is a nice little tutorial that uses Photoshop's "Match Color" command in a creative way to alter the color of your photographs to match the color scheme of another piece of art. It's almost certainly not what the programmers at Adobe intended for this command, but one of the things I like about this approach is that you can discover a whole new way of looking a photograph you had otherwise discounted entirely. Via Flickr's Photoshop Support group.

Monday, November 2, 2009

And now for something completely different...

You have Ivy to thank for this one. Yes, it's a little OT, but c'mon! How do you not love this?!

How to Browse without Leaving a Trace

Turns out there's more to it than clearing your cache and deleting your cookies. Lifehacker explains the details at:


E-Book Readers

Seems like E-book readers are becoming all the rage these days. I've been seeing them increasingly on the Amtrak train I take between Philly and DC, but not so many around campus. Given that Penn students seem fairly quick to jump on the hot-new-gadgets bandwagon (does anybody NOT have an iPhone around here?) it makes me wonder just how useful these devices will be to college students.

It seems like there are new models announced every day. In addition to the now-elderly-but-since-updated Sony e-book reader (we have one of the original model in the lab if you'd like to try it out), there's the various flavors of Amazon's kindle, Barnes and Noble's Nook, ASUS's recently announced reader to be released in March, and more.

Some libraries, both in the US and in the UK have been lending ebook readers to their patrons.

So my question is: Do you own one of these? Do you use or have you used one, and what for? And what were your impressions?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ryuneo Designs - the process

I love process, seeing the way a project goes from start to end, and artist Ryan Forshaw has made much of his process viewable -- at least in large discrete chunks, if not every step in between. Click on one of his projects here and watch a short slideshow of the progression of his beautiful work:


Lots of Photoshop posts lately? Yeah, I know. So sue me. I love Photoshop. If you've got some good links, let me know and I'll be glad to post them, too.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

I did this Photoshop job of my friend for Halloween last year, and then used Photoshop to animate the process. It starts with a photo from what I think was an office Halloween party, complete with scary contact lenses, and then I took it from there. Enjoy.

Don's Halloween costume from David Toccafondi on Vimeo.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dreamweaver Training from Lynda

Lynda.com has some good Dreamweaver CS4 training now available. It's called, "Creating a First Web Site with Dreamweaver CS4" and it's great for the beginning Dreamweaver user or web designer. I'm a little rusty on my webdesign skills, myself, so I'm going to use it re-learn dreamweaver (I think the last version I used was MX!) and make myself a new website.

Take a look at the contents here:


and if you're interested, just let the lab consultant on duty know you'd like to watch it, and we'll log you in on one of our workstations and you can watch 'til your heart's content.

Apple's new Magic Mouse

Is anybody else as eager as I am to get their hands on Apple's new "Magic Mouse?" They actually do have one on display over at the computer connection at one of the new iMacs they have on display (the 24", I think), but none on the shelves for folks like you and me yet. I called yesterday, and they said they expect them to ship out in about a week. A WEEK?! I have to wait a WEEK? (One of the lab consultants says it's a matter of Apple coming up with an OS update to take advantage of all the new features in the magic mouse) Anyhoo, the new mouse is very sleek, and they feel good in the hand (although they're a little thin), so go over to the CCX and give them a try. I promise I'll buy 2 or 3 of them as soon as they hit the shelves so you can come by and try them soon.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Educause Presentations at the Library

Penn has registered for EDUCAUSE 2009 Online, which will enable interested staff to view EDUCAUSE 2009 general, featured, and point/counterpoint sessions as well as a selection of track sessions streamed. Penn’s Educause 2009 Online event will be held next Wednesday through Friday (Nov. 4-6) in the Class of ’55 Room in the Van Pelt Library from 10:00 AM – 6:45 PM.

The full list of Educause 2009 sessions that will be streamed to Class of ‘55 can be read at http://www.upenn.edu/computing/isc/training/educause2009online.html

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Equipment Lending System

We've gone live with our new equipment lending system, WebCheckOut! You can get help and find more info at http://wic.library.upenn.edu/wicfacilities/lending.html

The web form you used to use to reserve equipment is gond, and it's been replaced with a snazzy new interface at http://checkout.sas.upenn.edu

We're eager to hear your feedback, so please let us know if you have any suggestions on how we can improve the system further.

(Oh, and we've lowered our late fines to $25 per day!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Drawing the Line

Cartoonists Lynda Barry, Eric Drooker, and John Jennings will be joining cultural critics Jared Gardner, Jeet Heer, and Sharon Mizota and members of the Haverford College community for Drawing the Line: Comics and the Art of Social Transformation, a symposium focusing on comics as a medium for social commentary as well as means of political intervention.

Drawing the Line brings together groundbreaking artists who draw their influences from sources as varied as Frans Masereel's woodcut novels to Bil Keane's Family Circus with scholars and critics who are exploring how models of subjectivity and modes of political agency are created in relation to visual and textual forms of representation.

Members of the public are invited to take part in the workshops, master classes, lectures, and panel presentations on the role of comics in movements for social change that will be taking place on Haverford's campus from October 21-25, 2009.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What's New in Final Cut Studio?

Apple Systems Engineer Mike Wolk is coming to Weigle Information Commons this Friday with his colleague from Apple to show new features of Final Cut Studio from noon to 1 pm. We hope you can join us - please register at

Equipment Availability Calendar

We're switching soon (sometime next week if the stars are properly aligned) to a new equipment lending system. Please be patient with us, as these transitions rarely go without a few bumps. :)

One such bump is the loss of our public equipment availability calendar. Although the new system will let you know in real-time whether equipment is available on a given day and time, we will lose the single-view, easy-to-read calendar we've been using up until now. Sorry for any inconvenience!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Color Printer blues

Our color laser printer in the lab is experiencing...difficulties. While it's being fixed, you can still print your documents from the lab, and then go outside into the Information Commons and release your print job from the color printer out there. (btw, did u get that pun in the post title? color printer "blues". ha! i slay me.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Closed this Friday 1-3

Hi all. The lab will be closed this Friday, September 25, from 1pm-3pm for a symposium that will be using much of the Information Commons. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wireless Set-up Fair, September 16

Is your laptop having difficulty connecting to wireless Internet on campus? SAS Computing will hold a wireless setup fair in the alcoves at WIC from 5 to 6:30 pm. This is a walk-in event.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

iPhone OS 3.1 update

From ISC on iPhone OS 3.1:

As many of you are already aware, Apple has released OS 3.1 for the iPhone and the iPod Touch. This release has a few new features and bug fixes, but most relevant here at Penn is that OS 3.1 addresses the problem where 3.0 devices would constantly disassociate from AirPennNet.

Information Systems and Computing has tested this release thoroughly and generally found it to be a stable release, well-worth the download. However, please keep in mind that if previous releases are any indicator, the download servers will be swamped and activations may take a while. For users who are not in desperate need of the AirPennNet fix, it may be best to wait a couple of days before upgrading to 3.1

Monday, August 31, 2009

Good-Bye Posters

Just a quick FYI. Lots of people have printed posters here in the lab and then never picked them up. We'll be throwing out any and all posters left in the lab on September 3. If you have a poster here, please pick it up ASAP.

We're Hiring!

Looking for a cool job in a cool digital media lab working with (and for) cool people? Well, we're looking for a few good lab consultants for the Fall 2009 semester. Details along with a full job description are here:


Let one of us know if you have any questions about the job!

Friday, August 21, 2009

There Oughta Be a Law!

This video contest asks participants to create a video, 3 minutes or less, describing a new law that should exist or a current law that should be amended. The grand prize is $1000!

It's part of an initiative by the Montgomery Bar Association Community Outreach Committee to promote awareness of the law and to remind citizens of the importance of the law in our society. The contest is for residents of Pennsylvania, and entries are due on October 8, 2009.

Download the info at

Let us know if you enter and we'll post your video on our blog for all to see.

Monday, August 17, 2009

No Wireless Today/Tomorrow

Van Pelt Library is upgrading its wireless access points today, so no wireless service will be available during that time. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Friday, July 31, 2009

New 2GB filesize limit in YouTube

You may have noticed over the last month that YouTube upped their filesize limit from 1GB to 2GB. Unfortunately, they did not also increase the 10 minute video length limit, but at least this is good news for people uploading high-def video. More info at http://tinyurl.com/kvebav

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Three Days

Just a quick reminder about our file storage/deletion policy. Although we would love to be able to store all of everyone's files forever and ever, we just don't have the storage space to be able to handle it all. So we have a policy that we will store your files on our networked hard drive for up to 3 days. And if you come back during that time and work on them some more, we'll keep them for an additional 3 days. And so on. And so forth. Etc. Etc. And you should never store your files on the desktop for longer than the duration of your work session that day. Anyone who sits down at a computer can delete things from the desktop. Just ask for help saving your files to our networked storage drive.

So if you're working on a project in the lab, be sure to come back every 2 or 3 days to work on it to avoid risking deletion. And please consider buying an external hard drive to store your project on. This gives you total control over your files, and you never need to fear that we'll delete them when you need them most.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Disposable Film Festival

The Disposable Film Festival was created in 2007 to celebrate the artistic potential of disposable video: short films made on non-professional devices such as one-time use video cameras, cell phones, point and shoot cameras, webcams, computer screen capture software, and other readily available video capture devices.

Disposable Film Fest '09 Promo from Disposable Film Festival on Vimeo.

The submission fee is only $.99 and you have until August 31, 2009 to submit your entries!

Get started now! Find our more about the DFF at http://www.disposablefilmfest.com/

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Ask Not" Filmmaker Contest

WHYY and ITVS invite you to share your views in a short film on the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the first ever WHYY Filmmaker Contest. The winner will receive a 20" iMac computer. Film submissions must be less than 10:00 minutes.

Short films may be of any genre (music video, interviews, etc) as long as they show a relevancy to an aspect of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

See the full details at http://www.whyy.org/community/asknotcontest.html

Friday, June 26, 2009

Evolution of Photoshop

This was an interesting article on the evolution of Photoshop from its inception to it's current incarnation of CS4. My favorite was the evolution of the toolbars. Also you gotta love that the splash screen for the version 1.0 release (the image to the right) only had 4 people's names on it.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

iPhone Art

I rather enjoyed these iPhone sketches Jorge Colombo did for the New Yorker:

He used an app called Brushes. There's also a Flickr group devoted to drawings created with the same app.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Good price on SD cards

Buy.com is has a good price on SD HC cards. It's two 4GB cards (8GB total) for only $18.95 with free shipping.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Computer Sale

The back-to-school sale is under way at the Computer Connection (the computer store located in the far corner of the Penn Bookstore). If you're in the market for a new computer, you definitely need to check it out. In addition to being discounted a few hundred dollars, the pre-configured Mac and PC systems they sell are generally designed to meet Penn's own hardware recommendations to help guarantee you're getting a computer that will suit your needs.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Twitter & Iranian Elections

An interesting read for all you tweeters out there. This is a pretty amazing story when you think about it: Twitter has decided to postpone critical maintenance on its servers in order to eliminate interruption of service in recognition of the important role they are playing in the Iranian political process.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Slide Scanner is Back

Our slide scanner is back from the shop, and is now clean, functional, and ready for you to start scanning slides again!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Exciting Software Updates: CS4, iLife 09, iWork 09

Big news! We're finally upgrading to the Adobe CS4 software suite, along with iLife 09 and iWork 09. The software affected includes Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash, iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand, Keynote, Pages, and Numbers. We expect to have the new software installed sometime in the coming week or so!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pas de posters

The poster printer is back online and working again. The poster printer is down today. We have our best people on it, and we hope to have it back up again by the end of the day. In the mean time, we're taking names as usual, along with phone #s so we can call if it comes back up today.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Slide Scanner getting cleaned

We've sent our Nikon slide scanner off to be serviced and cleaned. We're not sure exactly when it will be back, but I'm hoping it will be back in the next two weeks or so by mid-June. Sorry for any inconvenience its absence may cause, but it's all being done in the name of cleaner, crisper images, so it'll be worth the wait!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

We Do Not Exist

I think Jean Lee is in the lab more than I am, sometimes. She's been hard at work on her film, "We Do Not Exist," which explores the issue of sex trafficking -- what it is, who is involved and how it impacts our city. The film will be showing tonight in Fisher-Bennett 401 at 5pm, to be followed by a Q&A with Jean herself. Hope to see you there!

Happy Birthday, Janice

Today is lab consultant Janice Shiu's birthday! Wish her a happy birthday when you see her.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Power of Freedom

Congratulations to frequent lab user Courtney Terwilliger, whose short film, "The Power of Freedom" is showing this year at the Cannes Film Festival, and has also been accepted at the Hamptons Film Festival!

See the trailer online at http://seedyalley.com/

Courtney will also be live-blogging from Cannes on her website.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mashup Winners 2009

Congrats to Mashup Contest winners William Strasser, Aaron Walker, Allison Seeling, and the first ever People's Choice Award winners, Akash Barot, Adam El Sehamy and Zhibo Wang.  See the winners and all of the other entries at:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Vote for your favorite mashups!

Vote for your favorite mashups! Our annual mashup contest has taken off this year with 33 entries, and for the first time, we are taking online votes at http://wic.library.upenn.edu/mashup/2009voting.html
All entries are linked there with descriptions. Online voting closes on April 30 at 10 am.

Join us at our awards event this Thursday - we will award prizes to the winners selected by our judging panel as well as certificates to the winners of the online voting.

Don't Leave your Project on the Workstation

Hey everyone. Please don't just leave your project files on a workstation in the lab and expect them to be there when you come back the next day. There's nothing stopping anyone else using that machine from deleting things to make room for their own files. And those hard drives do fill up from time to time--particularly at the time of year. Adding "Do Not Delete" does not stop anyone from deleting it.

We will store your files on our networked user storage drive for up to three days at a time, as long as you return to continue working on it. Just ask a lab consultant for help transferring your files before you leave the lab.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Comic Book Contest Winners!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Even cheaper hard drive

This is almost getting ridiculous, how cheap these things are. Buy.com has a 640GB hard drive for only $66.99 with free shipping. That's TEN CENTS per Gigabyte. That is a CRAZY price for one of the portable drives. I just bought one of the 400GB drives for the same price last week! And *THAT* is still a good price. It's USB only, meaning it doesn't require a power cable at all.

Those of you with large video files should strongly consider getting one of these babies. It should last you your entire time at college, and you can just throw it in your bookbag and go. If nothing else, it's a great backup drive. Most of you will be able to backup your entire laptop several times over on a drive this size.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Hawk Cam

Very cool.

You can watch live footage of the hawks that have taken up residence on
the ledge of a Franklin Institute window at:


Thursday, April 2, 2009

New Lab Consultants!

We have three new lab consultants, Chase, Janice, and Thomas!

You'll be seeing a lot of them around the lab, so be sure to say hi (and try to go easy on them at first.)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Really cheap hard drive

Wow.  I'm not sure what's going on with this, but it's a 400GB mini/portable hard drive for under $70.  This is a fantastic price, so if you're in the market for a portable external hard drive (it's powered solely by USB and does not require an external power source), this looks like a great time to buy.