Tech Talk Thursday: Apple Harvests Early this Year

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Apple's September 2014 Keynote Event

Apple’s September 2014 Keynote Event

The greatly anticipated and legendary event that is Apple’s annual platform for debuting the cream of their product crop is rumored to be early this year. Usually Apple debuts new devices and software in October or November but this year it’s suggested to be sometime during the week of September 7th.

Some might say the date is irrelevant as 2015 promises to be a big year for new Apple products.

Based off of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June of this year, consumers are promised iOS 9, OS X 10.11 named El Capitan, WatchOS 2, an improved software for the Apple Watch still in its infancy, and Apple Music (which if you are like me, you do not appreciate having to fend off yet another advance from a streaming music company charging me money for music I’ve already purchased).

Starting the cattle call of products is the launch of yet another new iPhone; rumors have circled that this could be the new savior of Apple since iPad sales have been slowly sinking since October 2014. Rumors have also surfaced of a bigger BAD-der iPad making an appearance with product names such as “iPad Pro” and “iPad Plus”. But the most highly demanded  update due out this year will be an updated Apple TV which is said to feature Siri Support (or insults depending on your relationship with Siri), new remote control, updated user interface and more.

Whether you are an Apple enthusiast or not, 2015 offers hope of an exciting year in technology and software development and at the very least endless opportunities for Android and Apple users to keep their rivalry ripe with promise.

Helpful links for additional information: – iPhone & Event Date Rumor -iPad Pro Rumor Article


Looking for free streaming videos? We can help you with that!

play_iconTime for an introduction to a resource you might not be aware you have access to through our library! Did you know that the UCF Libraries provide access to a number of streaming video collections? The John C. Hitt library on main campus UCF subscribes to a few different databases UCF students, staff, and faculty can access free of charge. Often, this even includes full-length films!

The Alexander Street Press Database includes videos from collections like American History, Art and Architecture, LGBT Studies, New World Cinema, and World History.  Entire videos, playlists, or clips can be embedded or linked to and then streamed.

The FMG Films on Demand collections contains streaming videos from Films for the Humanities & Sciences, and has over 80 titles available.

DigitalCampus is a collection of over 19,000 theatrical films and television programs. You can request for the University to license semester-long access to films to use. Films that have already been licensed can be used in ANY course for that entire semester. You can even request closed captioned versions.

Kanopy  has over 12,000 titles available in a number of collections, including Film & Popular, Business, Health, and Technical Training.

You can read more about how to access these databases and the specific processes for linking and embedding videos on this LibGuide on the Hitt Library website. The instructions vary a bit from platform to platform.

These databases are a really great resource, especially if you’re not sure how to go about showing a video during a lecture or inside Webcourses. Why? It’s often complicated trying to include copyrighted material like films and movies in course material posted on the web, or showing films and movies  to large groups without the proper permissions. Since UCF licenses these materials, you can be sure you’re not violating copyright by using these instead of random clips you might find elsewhere on the internet. Use these databases to explore the options for linking to streaming videos in your courses, or even in presentations!

Throwback Thursday! A look back at our humble beginnings

It’s sort of hard to believe that the medical school has been up and running for 6 years now. Where did all the time go? When our library first opened back  in 2009, documenting our experiences via social media was the furthest thought from our mind. Now’s a good a time as any to take a look back into the past!

Before the Medical Education building opened in Lake Nona, the Health Sciences Library and the College of Medicine operated out of University Tower, an office building in UCF’s Research Park near Main Campus. Our library was in a much smaller space back then. We also had a smaller staff at the time as well, with a few faces you may not recognize (and some that you might!).

Some of our Original Library Staff

Some of our Original Library Staff

More of our Original Library Staff

More of our Original Library Staff

We were starting completely from scratch! Luckily, our new director, Nadine Dexter, brought a lot of experience in creating a brand new library with her from the Charlotte Edwards Maguire Library in Tallahassee. When Florida State University opened their medical school in 2001, she was instrumental in getting the Maguire Library up and running as well.  Under her direction, our staff worked really closely with the founding faculty to lay the groundwork for our collection of library books. The majority of the books currently on the shelves of our library have been hand-picked by our faculty. It was important to have their input so we could create a collection that would be useful and relevant to the people who would be making use of it.

New books!

New books!

While the new Medical Education building was being built, our staff had a few opportunities to come by and check out the progress of our new bigger and better space.

Look familiar? This is the front of the library!

Look familiar? This is the front of the library!

Installing the Front Desk

Installing the Front Desk


A little more progress

It took a  while, but finally our space looked more like the space you’re all familiar with now!



With our new library ready to go, we were really able to start working on ways to make the Health Sciences Library the welcoming space you all know. Having more space would allow us to think about planning events and opportunities to build relationships with our patrons.  And iPads! We haven’t even reached that part of the story yet!

That’s all for this blast from the past. We’ll do some more throwback posts and tell more of our story another week; we hope you look forward to it!

Ted Talk Tuesday: Until We Meet Again…Get Your TED Fix

TED Talks

Last year the library featured “TED Talk Tuesdays” on the library’s giant display in the Commons area. Our students gave us some constructive feedback on these events, including: while they all love TED Talks, students found it difficult to follow the talks with Closed Captioning, as the volume on the library TV is turned down; some students also reported that they like having the news on all the time, as it usually is; finally, some students pointed out that it was difficult to watch all of a TED Talk if they were just passing by or studying.

While the library reevaluates TED Talk Tuesdays for the fall, we wanted to let you know that there are a lot of other ways you can get your TED fix!

For those who don’t know, TED is a non-profit organization that originally began in 1984 as a conference on Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Today TED covers a huge range of topics from business, to science, to medicine, in over 100 languages. TED’s mission is to spread ideas on these topics in the form of short, uplifting and empowering talks, usually 18 minutes or less, featuring engaging speakers from all walks of life.

You can get the free TED app on your iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire and other Amazon devices.

TED iPhone app

TED iPhone app

Get the TED app for iOS here, for Android here, and Amazon here. To find even more platforms featuring TED Talks, including YouTube, radio, Netflix, and many more, check out the TED website.

In the meantime, stay tuned for TED Talk Tuesdays to re-emerge this fall, perhaps on the library’s new 80″ digital display in the atrium!

Tech Talk Thursday: New Tech in the Library Space

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The new semester is off and rolling! It’s only been three days, but the library is already starting to feel lively again now that the students have returned.

As we were preparing for the new school year, we wanted to include some additional useful technology in our study spaces. You may know that you can check-out various chargers for your mobile devices (iPhones, iPads, Android phones) from our front desk during our business hours. After the library closes at 5pm during the week or over the weekend, library staff aren’t available to loan out these items. Our solution? Provide library users with another way to charge their devices inside the library without the assistance of our library staff.  Say hello to our new charging stations!

Charging Station 1 Charging Station 2





We’ve placed one charging station in the Library Common’s area, and another in the Quiet (Reading Room) Area. Each station can charge up to 8 devices at a time, and there are different cords for different types of devices. Feel free to come by and use them, even during our business hours!

Our other new piece of technology is our 80-inch touchscreen display, parked just outside the library doors!


It’s really quite the eye-catcher. We can use this to display a number of things, from announcements to demonstrations. We hope to be able to bring back our TEDTalk Tuesdays by utilizing this screen later on in the Fall.

Any tech you can think of that might be useful in the library space? We’re always open to suggestions! Shoot us an email at

You Asked, We Answered: Apps for Work-Life Balance

A big thank you again for all those who attended our Info Expo Summer 2015 Technology Symposium. Our post-Expo survey revealed that our faculty and staff want more tech info. In particular, apps, apps, and more apps! Most of you, like many of us, are trying to find that work-life balance, and are looking for apps to help you do just that. So today we’re sharing some more fun, but useful apps that may not be work-related, but that you can use in your personal life.

Are you a crafty-pants? Do you like cooking or gardening? Are you always looking for inspiration for your next DIY project? Then you’ve probably already discovered Pinterest. But did you know that Pinterest is optimized for viewing in its app? If you have a Pinterest account, or even if you’re new to this platform, check out their free app for iOS or Android. For you newbies, Pinterest is an online pinboard where you can collect ideas from all over the internet and organizing them by theme. For those looking for inspiration, you can search for just about anything, from ideas for your kid’s next birthday party, to what you should wear to work this fall, to how to build a DIY bookshelf.

Download Pinterest for iOS here and for Android here.

With all the thunderstorms we’ve been having here in Central Florida lately, it’s always helpful to know what the weather will be like on your way to work and back, and whether there are any severe weather alerts. WeatherBug is great for both of these. This free app for iOS and Android will alert you when there’s a lightening storm in your area, and features a great real-time radar.

Download WeatherBug for iOS here and for Android here.

A Beautiful Mess
If you enjoy posting pictures on Instagram, then definitely check out A Beautiful Mess. This $0.99 app for iOS and Android lets you beautify your pictures before posting on social media. Add doodles, text, frames, and much more. You can also create collages from multiple pictures. Created by two women with their own lifestyle blog by the same name, this app is a must if you like adding a little whimsy to your social media posts.

Download A Beautiful Mess for iOS here and for Android here.

Stay tuned as we continue to bring you more apps for both work and fun!

Info Expo Summer 2015 Technology Symposium – Our Take

Last Thursday, the Health Sciences Library team hosted another edition of our popular lunch and learn-esque series, the HSL Info Expo! Thanks again to everyone that was able to attend. We tried something a little different this time, opting to host the event in the summer instead of the spring as is typical, and gave the event a more conference/symposium feel to suit the information that was being provided (usually we do some sort of theme). We had a great time! These selfie-stick pictures seem to indicate that many of our attendees also enjoyed the session:

Aside from selfie-stick shenanigans, our three presenters came prepared to share some great information. Nadine Dexter, our Director, gave everyone an overview of the 2015 Horizon Report, which focuses on key trends that will become a big deal in the next 1-5 years. Nadine is a big fan of the report, as it gives us an idea of what new technologies we can expect to see, and how our library and the medical school might be impacted by those changes.

Shalu Gillum, our Head of Public Services gave a talk on some of the apps and gadgets that came out this summer, as well as some that were just pretty cool and useful. Check out her list – you might find something interesting in there! Additionally, if you missed the blog post from last week, she posted a bunch of extras she wasn’t able to include in the presentation for the Expo that you can check out as well.  From the feedback we received, this part of the Expo was really well received, so we think we’ll keep the Apps & Gadgets portion as a permanent Info Expo segment!

Raney Collins, one of our talented library staff, provided an overview and brief demo of Thalmic Labs’ Myo, a gesture-based armband meant for use in presentations. Once the Myo is really ready for primetime, it should be a pretty useful tool in many areas, from business to gaming. Our Tech Talk Thursday blog post at the beginning of July previewed the Myo, but you can check out a video of how the Myo works in presentation mode on the Thalmic Labs Youtube channel, along with many other interesting videos.

Questions about any of the topics we discussed? We’d be happy to talk with you about them! Just stop by the library or send us an email at Info Expo is by far one of our favorite events to put on at the College of Medicine. It’s a lot of work, but definitely worth it once it’s all come together. We hope you all look forward to our next one!

Apps & Gadgets: Bonus Edition!

If you’ve RSVP’d to attend today’s HSL Info Expo Summer Technology Symposium, you’ll be hearing me talk about some exciting apps and gadgets for summer in our new segment, “Apps & Gadgets.” There are so many cool tools out there that it was hard to narrow it down to just a handful for a 10-minute segment. Instead of leaving some on the cutting room floor, we decided to share them with you here.

This is Apps & Gadgets: Bonus Edition!

Here are a few things you might want to check out before the summer is over.

Antec Sugar Cube Portable Speaker

This adorable little 2” x 2” x 2” Bluetooth speaker is tiny enough to keep on your desk, in your pocket, or in your purse. Use it to listen to high-quality music or phone calls. It comes in an array of bright colors, including my personal favorite, pink! Sugar Cube offers six hours of playback time and a range of up to 10 meters.

Buy it from Amazon for about $28 here.

Sugar Cube Bluetooth Speaker

Sugar Cube Bluetooth Speaker

Sky Guide App by Fifth Star Labs, LLC

Are you a stargazer? Planning on going camping this summer? Then you need to check out the amazing Sky Guide app! Sky Guide allows you to turn your iOS device into a mobile planetarium. Gaze up at the stars day or night, inside or outside. Just hold up your device to the sky and see where Ursa Minor, Taurus, Mercury, Venus, and other constellations and planets are hiding in the heavens.

Buy Sky Guide for iOs from the iTunes store for $1.99 here.

Sky Guide app

Sky Guide app


Goodreads App by Goodreads

Goodreads is the largest social media platform for readers and book lovers. This free app is a great way to discover book recommendations from your friends and peers. You can read thousands of book reviews, add titles to a virtual bookshelf, and create a to-read list. You can also add status updates and page number updates for books you’re reading – great for book clubs! You can even use the built-in barcode scanner to add your print books onto your Goodreads bookshelf. Links with Facebook so you can quickly add your friends to Goodreads.

Get the Goodreads app for free for Android from the Google Play Store here or for iOS from the iTunes store here.

Goodreads app

Goodreads app

If you’re coming to Info Expo today, we look forward to seeing you there! If not, be sure to RSVP for our next event in the winter. You don’t want to miss out on all the latest Apps & Gadgets!


Spotlight on Health: Lightning Safety!

Central Florida has had a lot of lightning-heavy storms the past few days or so. The radar images look pretty serious.

Plenty of folks also managed to capture pictures of the lightning in action; this picture of Cinderella’s Castle at Disney’s Magic Kingdom last Friday is particularly striking:

Interesting social media posts aside, it’s important to be safe each day during our typical Florida afternoon thunderstorms this summer. Here are some lighting myths and facts from the National Weather Service.

Myth: If you’re caught outside during a thunderstorm, you should crouch down to reduce your risk of being struck.
Fact: Crouching doesn’t make you any safer outdoors. Run to a substantial building or hard topped vehicle. If you are too far to run to one of these options, you have no good alternative. You are NOT safe anywhere outdoors.

Myth: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
Fact: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it’s a tall, pointy, isolated object. The Empire State Building is hit nearly 100 times a year.

Myth: If it’s not raining or there aren’t clouds overhead, you’re safe from lightning.
Fact: Lightning often strikes more than three miles from the center of the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or thunderstorm cloud. “Bolts from the blue” can strike 10-15 miles from the thunderstorm.

Myth: Rubber tires on a car protect you from lightning by insulating you from the ground.
Fact: Most cars are safe from lightning, but it is the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, NOT the rubber tires. Remember, convertibles, motorcycles, bicycles, open-shelled outdoor recreational vehicles and cars with fiberglass shells offer no protection from lightning. When lightning strikes a vehicle, it goes through the metal frame into the ground. Don’t lean on doors during a thunderstorm.

Myth: If trapped outside and lightning is about to strike, I should lie flat on the ground.
Fact: Lying flat increases your chance of being affected by potentially deadly ground current. If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, you keep moving toward a safe shelter.

You can read other myths and facts by visiting the National Weather Service website.

There’s a lot of open space between the Medical Education Building and the parking lot, so in the event of a serious storm, consider staying inside until it passes. There are also many apps you can download on your smart phone that will keep you up to date with the weather, and maybe give you a heads-up that it’s not yet safe to head to your car. If it’s really bad outside, better to be a little late then risk your safety.



Tech Talk Thursday: A Quick Preview of the Myo

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Myo ArmbandHats off to the savvy and forward thinking minds at Thalmic Labs where they have combined biometrics with technology. The Myo (pronounced “my-oh!”) is a gesture control armband that can be worn by business professionals, engineers, and gamers alike! By using sensors to read your arm’s ligament movements, the Myo acts as a hands free controller for your presentation, robot or droid, or (best of all) game! Bringing presentations to a whole new level, this new gadget is sure to impress!


There will be a live demo of the Myo at the HSL Info Expo – Summer  2015 Technology Symposium. Look out for your invitation soon!


To learn more about the Myo, follow this link: