Monday, December 28, 2009

Newest Library Patron

Bellevue Library My husband took the KCLS plunge!  On Saturday, we visited the Bellevue branch so that he could get his first KCLS library card and check out a book on WWII.  He was the fifth person that hour to sign up for a card.

(Sorry Redmond, I would have loved to have him visit our home library, but you didn’t have the book he wanted on the shelf like Bellevue did.  Since he needed a card, we needed to visit the branch in person. But now he can place holds onlineRedmond Library to pick up future picks in Redmond. Note to other board members: please forgive me for bumping up a rival branch’s statistics as I checked out a few books while we were there too!)

While my husband is an avid reader of all things online, “traditional” novels have never been something we’ve held in common. Fortunately, we have a lot of other things we both like to keep the conversation going: music, bowling, and baseball to name a few.  And, at the end of the day, though the library has an amazing amount of other offerings, I still mostly use the library to check out novels.

I’m excited to introduce him to all of the other services the library has to offer. . . particularly the online offerings that are so abundant through the KCLS website.

p.s. It turns out he’s primarily interested in nonfiction history books,  a genre I don’t generally go near.  So, it looks like we still won’t be talking books anytime soon!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Best Books of 2009

As the year comes to a close, take a moment to review the  King County Library System’s Best Books of 2009. The books on this list can also make great (very) last minute holiday gifts! Compiled by the Material Selection Team, the list covers six categories:
  • Adult Fiction
  • Adult Nonfiction
  • Teen Books
  • Children’s Fiction
  • Children’s Nonfiction
  • Children’s Picture Books
  • Fireworks

    Sweetness Sadly, I’ve only read one of the books on this list, Alan Bradley’s “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie”, as it was also a Maiden Voyage selection through Elliot Bay Books. (This program also makes a great “last minute” holiday gift!)  “Sweetness” is a delightful book that I would have also loved as a teen girl.  I can’t wait to read the upcoming Flavia de Luce mysteries!

    Lists from 2007 and 2008 are also available.

    *Sigh* So many books, so little time!


    Monday, December 21, 2009

    Redmond Digital Arts Festival: High Tech Meets High Touch

    Redmond Digital ArtsThe Redmond Arts Commission welcomes you to the 2nd Digital Arts Festival, beginning with special events in December 2009 and featuring workshops and presentations on January 15 and 16, 2010. Here are some of the free featured events:

    Motion Capture Open Studio 
    January 16th 10:00am-3:00pm  (free) 
    Ever dream of being like those Hollywood actors that get their movement captured onto a CG character? Well, now’s your chance! Come to Digital Double motion capture studio and experience this first hand as you jump, kick, or dance as a cute bear, sumo warrior, or even a character of your choice.

    Here's a Digital Double video that shows the process of motion capture:

    Digital Double motion capture studio is located at 15814 Bear Creek Parkway.

    Spontaneous Fantasia 
    January 16th 7:00pm  (free) 
    J-Walt performs a solo show of his own images and music, drawing virtual landscapes and geometric abstractions with software and computer interfaces he designed. The audience watches as J-Walt draws with a pen tablet and animates creatures and environments. Always pushing the envelope, J-Walt has made his show even more high-tech, immersing audiences into state-of-the-art digital fulldome and 3D stereo. The pieces are highly improvisational — each performance is unique.

    Redmond Digital Arts: J-Walt's Spontaneous Fantasia The performance is at Redmond City Hall, 15670 NE 85th St.

    Animation Through the Ages 
    January 15th 7:00pm  (free) 
    From feature films such as Pixar's "Up" to television shows such as Comedy Central's "South Park", the use of animation continues to grow and evolve. Digital technology now plays a significant part in how such labor intensive productions are created yet there are many core elements that stand the test of time. As part of Redmond's Digital Arts Festival event, DigiPen Institute of Technology will be hosting a panel discussion with animation industry experts on how the industry has evolved and what audiences can expect to see in the near future. Come join the discussion and learn more about this fascinating field!

    Redmond Digital Arts: Animation Through the Ages

    The event is at Redmond City Hall, 15670 NE 85th St.

    For info on all of the events, see Redmond Digital Arts Festival.

    Redmond Library Board

    Sunday, December 13, 2009

    Balloons Aglow: The Brightest of the Redmond Lights

    One of the most spectacular events of Redmond Lights 2009 was the lighting of the hot air balloons next to Redmond Town Center. Three brightly colored balloons from the Airial Balloon Company in Snohomish created a spectacular light show!

    Click for larger view of Redmond Lights balloon glow

    The three balloons would alternately fire up their burners for a 5-10 second blast. What a dazzling display of color against the dark of night!

    Click for larger view of Redmond Lights balloon glow

    Hopefully, the balloons will be back next year.

    Redmond Library Board

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009

    A Streetside View of Redmond

    You can now see a street-level view of downtown Redmond using the new version of Bing Maps. While you might have used the bird's eye views in Bing Maps, the new beta version provides a ground-level, or Streetside, view. Here’s a Streetside view of the Redmond Library:

    Bing Maps: Streetview of  Redmond Library

    Bing Maps: Streetside blue man iconTo access the Streetside feature in Bing Maps, click on the Blue Man icon at the lower part of the map screen. If the feature is available for the map area, you can drag the man to a location on the map, and the map converts to a street-level view of the location. Once in Streetside mode, you can explore the location around you by using your mouse and the Streetside controls to change your location and viewing perspective.

    This new mapping technology is built on Microsoft's Silverlight, which provides smooth scrolling for panning, as well as zooming in and out of locations. You will be prompted to install Silverlight if it hasn’t already been installed.

    A growing number of U.S. locations are gaining Streetside capability international locations will be available in the future. Here’s a Streetside view of the Fremont Troll in Seattle:

    Bing Maps: Streetside view of the Fremont Troll

    Photosynth images are also a key feature of Bing Maps. In simple terms, the Photosynth Web application allows you to take a collection of photos of the same scene or object and automagically stitch them all together into one big interactive 3D viewing experience that you can share with anyone on the web.

    Here’s a photosynth of the climbing structure in Redmond’s Marymoor Park.

    Photosynth: Marymoor Park climbing structure in Redmond You can find out more about photosynths, including creating ones yourself, at Here’s one of more popular photosynths Isa Khan Niyazi's Tomb in Delhi, India:

    Photosynth: Isa Khan Niyazi Tomb in Delhi

    Isa Khan Niyazi was an Afghan noble in Sher Shah Suri's court of Sur dynasty, who fought against the Mughals. This tomb was built in 1547, during his own lifetime, and later served as the burial place for the entire family of Isa Khan.

    Other Blog Postings on Maps
    Here’s a list of other Redmond Library blog postings on maps:
    Is Your House on Google Street View?
    Maps for the City of Redmond
    Redmond Town Center: A View from Virtual Earth 3D
    Exploring the Skies with the WorldWide Telescope
    A bird's eye view of Redmond High School

    Redmond Library Board

    Thursday, December 3, 2009

    Green Holidays: Tips on D-ECO-rating

    Click for Green Holidays Web site Festive doesn’t have to mean wasteful. Green can be your holiday color as well as your way of life. This year the King County EcoConsumer team has expanded their Green Holidays resources to offer new and innovative ideas to green up your celebrations. Here are some of their suggestions:

    Eco-tastic Holiday Decor
    Energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) or solar-powered lights add a sleek look to your holiday decorations,Green Holidays: LED lights and may save you $30 or more on your winter electric bill. Make sure your cut tree gets composted and turned into mulch after the holidays. Consider a living tree. These potted Christmas trees, available at many nurseries, are usually smaller than cut trees.

    Wrap It Up, Sent It Out
    Green Holidays: wrapping paper Wrap presents in old calendars, maps, posters, sheet music, wallpaper scraps, kids’ drawings or the Sunday color comics section of the newspaper. Consider wrapping a kitchen gift in a kitchen towel to make the packaging part of the present.

    Give It Up 
    Draw names for family giving so everyone just gives one personGreen Holidays: gift exchange a gift instead of buying for everyone. Nearly every family who switches to this method loves it! Pick a friend who you know will be receptive, and agree not to exchange gifts. Go out for dinner or drinks instead. If you're not sure what to give someone, gift cards can be a greener gift rather than just taking a wild guess at what they want. The recipient gets exactly what they desire, which usually reduces waste.

    Redmond Library Board