Category Archives: software

Software Review: AMI’s DuOS

Recently I decided to replace my tablet and laptop with a Microsoft Surface 3 (more about it some other time). One of the deciding factors in choosing it as a device was the ability to run an Android system on demand.

How? AMI’s DuOS. This program allows you to launch android on a Windows machine, and on a Surface, it looks like a regular tablet experience. You can add the official Play Store easily, and then download and run all of the apps that you might want.


There is a free 30 trial, with Version 1.1 (Jellybean) costing $10 US, and Version 2.0 (Lollipop) costing $15 US (currently about $20 CAD).  They do have frequent opportunities to win a full license, which I did, but I would have paid for the full license without any reservation. They have an active support forum, and some good videos as well.

The main issue that I’ve encountered so far is that sometimes it doesn’t launch full screen, but I think that it might have something to do with available memory. But, I’ve had fun exploring, and highly recommend this software for everyone who likes the Android system but also wants to run Windows.

Other Android emulators include:

And Digital Trends just published a AMI DuOS review as well.

Video, Why Bother?

I’ve been having an interesting discussion at work lately. And by lately, I mean the last 2 years. Whenever the topic of marketing comes up, I suggest videos. And the response from almost everyone is:

“No one watches video.”

At which point the conversation is essentially over, because if you believe that no one is watching video, then, all my facts and figures about how video is the most popular format on the web aren’t going to have any effect.

Infographic of "Why Video is the Best form of Engagement" frm

What I think is happening when people are saying “no one watches video” what they are actually saying is:

“I don’t watch video, and don’t see the value of information shared this way.”

That is a discussion I need to start because video is fun! With video, tutorials become a lot more transparent, with video we can give library staff a voice and possibly face when they are communicating.

There are a lot of ways that video can help us add value to our community.

  • Storytimes
  • Puppet shows
  • Technology Tutorials
  • Book talks
  • Interviews with authors
  • Personal Histories
  • Highlighting Collections

This small set of ideas would mean that kids and their parents could re-visit their favourite programs, or watch one that they had  missed, or someone troubleshooting an ebook issue at home would be able to get help even when the library is closed. We could be adding to the historical record of our community by creating and sharing personal histories. And by putting faces and names to our staff, we are creating connections with the community without every leaving the building! (But we should do that as well). Video can act as an archival activity, creating a record for future staff and the community.

So, video is valuable. It is also not that hard. At least once you get over the embarrassment of hearing your own voice.

There are lots of different tools to create and edit video (I’m really fond of Camtasia at the moment), but really all you need is a script (words!) and patience (a real useful skill for library work). Building videos really fits with library work – providing information, attention to detail, sharing…

And because I might as well put myself in as a guinea pig, here is one of my most recent videos.

I’d like to see your lists

 A version of this post is posted at the fantastic What are you reading? blog by the BCLA Reader’s Advisory Interest Group.

Many libraries in British Columbia now are using Bibliocommons – a fantastic catalogue overlay that allows staff and patrons to leave ratings, reviews and make lists of content.

If your library uses Bibliocommons and you are able to add custom widgets to your website (or have the ear of someone who can) using the following tools can add interactivity to your website, blog or something to offer partners.

First, go to: http:// [libraryname]

You will then find a list of different widgets that are currently available to use.

My current favourite is the user list carousel. You can choose any list to feature.

[iframe src=”″ height=”315″ width=”550″ frameBorder=”0″ scrolling=”no”]

How to create and embed a carousel:

1) Copy your javascript snippet into notepad from:
http:// [libraryname] *

2) Locate the Bibliocommons User List Carosuel iframe code and paste above your javascript snippet. **

3) Create or locate the list you want to feature.


and locate the number that occurs before the list name. Paste that number into the code. ***

4) On the webpage that you would like to place the carousel go to editing mode and:

  • In Drupal: click on “Disable rich-text” below the WYSIWG editor and then paste in the code chunk.


  • With sites, you need to install the iFrame plugin for the list to appear. But you do not need the Javascript snippet.
  • With (free) site, you are unfortunately out of luck (for the moment).

5) Save and publish!

Some ideas on what to use:

  • Staff Picks
  • List created for an event or holiday
  • To share with a partner organization
    • Like books on the topic of a current exhibit
    • Best gardening books for the local garden club

I’d love to see your carousels in action! Link to your examples in the comments.