Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Free online courses from Yale

Yale University announced that they are allowing free and open access to 7 introductory graduate classes. Check it out at

Tina Lau
North County Librarian

Friday, November 30, 2007

Invitation to a Party

Hello Tina and Cuesta College Library Bloggers:

Mark your calendars for Thurs. Dec. 6, 2- p.m. We will be holding an Open House reception to celebrate the retirement of our Library Director, Dave Dowell. The party will be held in the SLO campus library staff area, with snacks and beverages, and tours of our newly remodeled facilty. Hope to see you there.

Denise Fourie
Instructor, Library /Information Technology
Cuesta College

Monday, November 19, 2007

Amazon e-book reader Unveils New e-Book Reader

By Calvin Reid -- Publishers Weekly, 11/19/2007 9:09:00 AM CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled Kindle, its much anticipated e-book reading device at a packed press conference in Manhattan this morning. Intended to compete with the now discounted ($299) Sony Reader, Kindle is priced at $399 and offers wireless access to more than 90,000 downloadable titles at a uniform price of $9.99.

The Kindle weighs in at 10.3 ounces with a black & white electronic ink screen that can be read in bright sunlight. It’s thin as a pencil and will hold about 200 books, which are also stored in online user accounts and can be redownloaded at any time. But most impressive is the title selection and pricing as well as its wireless functionality. Unlike most digital reading devices, Kindle does not require a personal computer. Through an agreement with mobile carrier Sprint, Amazon has built its own network on the back of Sprint’s EVDO wireless cellphone network. There is no separate fee or monthly billing for use of Kindle’s wireless access and all titles and services for Kindle can be purchased through the wireless access provided through the device.

Online connection to the Kindle online store was very quick and downloads of even the largest books take less than a minute. The device also downloads newspapers and magazines and provides full-text access (not RSS Feeds) to more than 300 blogs that can be updated continuously. Each device comes with a pre-assigned email account that allows the user to email themselves personal documents (Word, plus gifs and jpegs) that can be read on the device.

Using a giant overhead screen, Bezos demonstrated the device (which worked flawlessly) to the assembled press corps. He said that they were trying to create a device so easy to use that it “disappears when you use it.” He said Amazon’s designers believed, “you can’t outbook, the traditional book. You have to have a device that can do things that the print book can’t do.”

From the looks of Kindle, Amazon may have made good on that claim. New media professionals at the event seemed impressed by the device, although not necessarily by its price. To seal the deal, Bezos unveiled a video presentation with such authors as Michael Lewis, Toni Morrison, Neil Gaiman and James Patterson, all lavishing praise on the new device. And then Bezos ended the press conference by handing out free devices to the assembled press corps. Now that’s the way to get the buzz started.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Another money-saving coupon code

Save with eCampus Coupon Code

By BookOpinion on Books

From Nov. 1 to Jan. 31, 2008, is offering BookOpinion users two different coupon codes to save on your next purchase. Offer: Save 5% off of Purchase of $75 or More Expires: Jan. 31, 2008 Code: HIGHFIVE Offer: Save $10 off of $200 Purchase Expires: Jan. 31, 2008 Code: HIGHTEN Use this link to go to eCampus and save!

[taken from the BookOpinion blog]

Tina Lau
North County Librarian

Spring schedule is online

Cuesta's Spring class schedule is now online at, click on "Find Classes". Get the jump on planning next semester.

Tina Lau
North County Librarian

Friday, November 02, 2007

Coupon codes for buying books online

These are coupon codes good for the month of November, taken from the blog BookOpinion:

Save with BiggerBooks Coupon Code

By BookOpinion on Books

From Nov. 1 to Jan. 1, 2008, BiggerBooks is offering BookOpinion users two different coupon codes to save on your next purchase. Offer: Save $5 off of first Purchase Expires: Jan. 1, 2008 Code: FIVEOFF Offer: Save $10 off of $200 Purchase Expires: Jan. 1, 2008 Code: TENOFF Use this link to go to BiggerBooks and save!

Save at Alibris with Coupon Code

By BookOpinion on Books

Alibris has sent us a coupon code for BookOpinion users for the month of November. This offers expire at midnight on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2007. Save $3 off a purchase of $30 or more using Coupon Code: GARCIAMARQUEZ Click here to go!

Tina Lau
North County Librarian

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Save some money on books

There is a blog called BookOpinion that I sometimes read, which has discount codes for online bookstores sometimes. Here are a couple that I just found:

Save at Alibris With Coupon Code

Alibris coupon til Oct 25

Save with Coupon Codes

eCampus coupon til Oct 31

Hope someone can use them!

Tina Lau

North County Librarian

Monday, July 16, 2007

You've Received an Email Greeting: NOT!

In case you haven't heard yet, there is a virus being spread around the Internet in phony e-card spam. I have received several e-card notifications in both my work and personal email, one of them supposedly from (a reputable e-card website). So don't open any e-cards!
Here are some of the subject lines:

  • You've received a greeting card from a school-mate!
  • You've received a greeting ecard from a class mate!
  • You've received a greeting ecard from a neighbour!
  • You've received a greeting postcard from a partner!
  • You've received a greeting postcard from a worshipper!
  • You've received a postcard from a family member!
  • You've received a postcard from a neighbour!
  • You've received a postcard from a worshipper!
  • You've received an ecard from a colleague!
For more info, see the Information Week article at

Tina Lau
North County Librarian

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Cuesta Library Catalog Unavailable Part of Saturday

Cuesta library's online catalog will be down for part of Saturday, June 28. It should become available again that same day.

Tina Lau
North County Librarian

Free NetLibrary ebook for July

If you are working on a speech or term paper about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this book is for you--

The Arc: A Formal Structure for a Palestinian State
by Doug Suisman, Steven Simon, Glenn Robinson, C. Ross Anthony, Michael Schoenbaum
RAND Corporation

Winner of the 2006 Institute Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design, American Institute of Architects

Creating a successful Palestinian state poses a wide range of political, economic, social, and environmental challenges. In the July eBook of the Month, researchers from the RAND Corporation provide an in-depth and comprehensive nation-building plan to overcome these obstacles, as well as a design to meet the population's infrastructure needs.

The proposals outlined in The Arc: A Formal Structure for a Palestinian State include a landmark infrastructure corridor that runs up the spine of the West Bank and also links the West Bank and Gaza. The proposal would promote dramatic new development in Palestine and would give Palestinians new access to jobs, food, water, education, health care, housing and public services and would help improve the lives of Palestinians and begin laying the groundwork to sustain long-term development in a future state.

Tina Lau

North County Librarian

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

USA Minority Population Tops 100 Million

A report was issued by the Census Bureau a few days ago, saying that the minority population of the United States has now topped 100 million. More at

Time to learn a foreign language! Cuesta offers Spanish, French, German, and sign language courses.

Tina Lau
North County Librarian

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cupertino Effect

A little diversion from your finals--

It turns out that the modern affliction of spellcheckers wreaking havoc on unsuspecting documents has been given a name. Following a tip from commenter Qaminante on Languagehat, I discovered that runaway spellchecking has been dubbed "the Cupertino effect," at least among writers and translators for the European Union. As Qaminante explains, the common misspelling of cooperation as cooperatino leads some spellcheckers to suggest a change to Cupertino. (One EU writer claims that the Cupertino change can even happen to the word cooperation if the word processor's custom dictionary only has the hyphenated form co-operation. However, I find it difficult to believe that many custom dictionaries out there include Cupertino but not unhyphenated cooperation.)

This isn't a concern for users of Microsoft Word in its recent versions, since cooperation is the first suggestion given for cooperatino, not to mention coperatino, coperation, cuperation, coopertion, and various other typos. (You have to go all the way to cuperatino or cupertion before Word will suggest Cupertino.) In fact, if you're using the default Autocorrect settings for Word, it will automatically change cooperatino (and most of the other misspellings) to cooperation before you've even noticed the mistake. Nonetheless, the Cupertino carnage has been substantial, particularly for documents produced by the EU and other international organizations.

Here's a brief sampling of the hundreds of Cupertinos one can find on the ".int" domain used by international groups like the UN, the EU and NATO:

Within the GEIT BG the Cupertino with our Italian comrades proved to be very fruitful. (NATO Stabilisation Force, "Atlas raises the world," 14 May 2003)

The fact that Secretary General Robertson is going to join this session this afternoon in the European Union headquarters gives you already an idea of how close and co-ordinated this Cupertino is and this action will be. (NATO Press Point, 19 Mar. 2001)

Safe blood transfusion services are being addressed in Freetown and Lungi, using WHO RB funds in Cupertino with the Red Cross Society of Sierra Leone and in Bo by MSF/Belgium. (WHO/EHA report on Sierra Leone, 1 May 2000)

Could you tell us how far such policy can go under the euro zone, and specifically where the limits of this Cupertino would be? (European Central Bank press conference, 3 Nov. 1998)

Co-ordination with the World Bank Transport and Trade Facilitation Programme for South East Europe will be particularly important in the area of trade facilitation and shall be conducted through regular review mechanisms and direct Cupertino. (European Agency for Reconstruction, "Focal area: Justice and home affairs")

A consistent and efficient tax reform approach also will facilitate the shoring up broader EU and G-7 support for similar reform strategies -- this in turn would make international Cupertino easier. (European Parliament, "Towards a Re-Orientation of National Energy Policies in the EU? - Germany as a Case Study")

Conservation of the ecological system can be achieved by agreements, Cupertino, compensation (incentives), etc. with landowners or users of an area. ... . It was an interesting feature during this phases that both at the national and local levels, permanent and constructive means of Cupertino were built between the directorates and the civil society. ... Special voluntary management contracts or Cupertino with land users are also an excellent ways to conserve these areas. (Council of Europe, "Report on the establishment of the National Ecological Network and the status of its national programme in Hungary")

And so on and so forth. An expert in the history of word processing could probably trace the origin and spread of this spellchecker scourge. What is Cupertino doing in so many custom dictionaries around the world anyway? Could it have anything to do with the fact that the northern California city of Cupertino is home to the worldwide headquarters of Apple as well as various other Silicon Valley companies? Neither Microsoft (makers of Word) nor the various owners of WordPerfect (Borland, Novell, Corel) have a Cupertino connection, however.

One possible clue comes from "The Macintosh Secret Tricks List" (a list of so-called "easter eggs") circulated among Mac users in January 1993. Someone noticed that if supression (sic) was typed in Microsoft Word 4.0 for the Mac, then the spellchecker would include Cupertino among its suggestions. The contributor speculated that this might be "secret Apple-bashing." I highly doubt that this represents some sort of anti-Apple easter egg, since even current versions of Microsoft Word for Windows will include Cupertino as an alternative to such misspellings as supretion (though no longer supression). The spellchecking algorithm seems to be making suggestions based on the possibility that initial s could actually represent initial c, and that the bigrams re and on could have been accidentally flipped from er and no respectively. But at least this establishes that Cupertino has been lurking in Microsoft's custom dictionaries since at least 1989 (when Word 4 for Mac was released).

From the Language Log blog at

Moral of the story: Don't accept whatever the spellchecker hands you!

Tina Lau, North County Librarian

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Resizing an Image without PhotoShop

picnik capture screenAt the Information Desk, we often get a question from one of you who have found that perfect image for your project--but want to resize it. And often, many computers on campus do not have a photo editor like Photoshop. Well, where have you been? It's a Web 2.0 universe now and you should expect to find a site you just go in and visit, register if you want to save your work, to do what you want-- right?

Well, there is a new site--currently in beta mode but in this site you are able to do simple photo and image editing functions. It's called Picnik. Go to, upload the image you have found--and you can rotate, crop, resize, modify colors, sharpen, reduce red eye-- in other words, be able to do what you most often want to do with your photos and images. You can set up an account to save your photos and images and variations as well. And there's a tab where you can easily get your photos that you have saved on Flickr.

The Library would like to remind you to keep in mind copyright restrictions when planning to use images. They're fine for projects you present for class--but for websites, if they're not clipart, check for permissions and ask the site owner from where you got it.

Again, enjoy your picnik: . And at home, if you think you'll use it often, check out Picnik tools at:

Thanks go to the Chabot College Library blog, where I found this tip--Tina Lau, North County Librarian

Friday, May 11, 2007

Required reading!

The library (both campuses) has just received copies of The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation which are now available for checkout. (Well, the San Luis copy is currently available--I just checked out the North County copy to read, but I'll finish it fast.) It's designed to make the 9/11 report readable for everyone, in 131 pages. It's written by Sid Jacobson, who was the executive editor at Marvel Comics, and Ernie Colon, who oversaw the production of the Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Blackhawk, and The Flash.

I've tried to read the original 9/11 Report, but gave up after a few dozen pages. I figure I'll actually get through it this time.

"Never before have I seen a nonfiction book as beautifully and compellingly written and illustrated as The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation. I cannot recommend it too highly. It will surely set the standard for all future works of contemporary history, graphic or otherwise, and should be required reading in every home, school, and library."--Stan Lee

from Tina Lau, North County Librarian

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Caesar's Gallic Wars

Caesar in Gaul and Rome
War in Words

By Andrew M. Riggsby
University of Texas Press, 2006

Winner of the 2006 AAP/PSP Award for Excellence, Classics and Ancient History

Anyone who has even a passing acquaintance with Latin knows "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres" ("All Gaul is divided into three parts"), the opening line of De Bello Gallico, Julius Caesar's famous commentary on his campaigns against the Gauls. But what did Caesar intend to accomplish by writing and publishing his commentaries, how did he go about it, and what potentially unforeseen consequences did his writing have?

These are the questions that author Andrew Riggsby pursues in the award-winning Caesar in Gaul and Rome. Named by the Association of American Publishers as the 2006 Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division (PSP) award winner for Excellence in Classics and Ancient History, Caesar in Gaul and Rome uses contemporary literary methods to examine the historical impact De Bello Gallico had on the Roman reading public and offers a fresh interpretation of Julius Caesar's Gallic War that focuses on Caesar's construction of national identity and self-presentation.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Summer and Fall Cuesta Schedules Available

The new summer and fall schedules are available online. Go to the Cuesta homepage, click on PAWS, then click on Find Classes. The print schedules will be available soon.

Tina Lau
North County Librarian

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Free Netlibrary book for March

Ireland Adventure Guide
By Tina Neylon
Hunter Publishing, 2006

Ireland is steeped in history, tradition and culture, making it one of the most popular vacation destinations worldwide. Its story is told in centuries-old castles, stone circles strategically placed to shine in the winter solstice moon, and, of course, in its pubs, where local residents gladly share a pint and a tale.

Written by Irish native Tina Neylon, the March eBook of the Month will open your eyes to the astonishing treasures of this ancient Island, showing you how to experience Ireland directly and intensely—as a participant not just a spectator. You’ll join in the pub life of Dublin, meet the people through theater and music groups, visit the lake where St. Patrick first landed in 442 AD and find some of the finest golf courses in the world. Packed with essential information for the adventure-minded traveler, this guide is a comprehensive introduction to the people, the places, and the culture of Ireland

Friday, February 02, 2007

Netlibrary book for February: Black History Month

A Companion to African-American Studies
Edited by Lewis R. Gordon (Temple University) and Jane Anna Gordon (Temple University)
Blackwell Publishing, 2006

In celebration of African-American History Month, NetLibrary has partnered with Blackwell Publishing to offer A Companion to African-American Studies as the February eBook of the Month. A groundbreaking re-appraisal of the history and future of African-American studies, the Companion includes original essays by expert scholars in the field and covers each topic with authority and clarity.

Edited by Lewis R. Gordon and Jane Anna Gordon, A Companion to African-American Studies is a definitive intervention at a critical time in the history of race relations and in the academic field of race and ethnic studies. Bringing together a dazzling array of established and emergent voices, the Companion opens with a series of reflections from those who waged pitched battles to establish African-American Studies as a bona fide academic discipline and captures the dynamic interaction of African-American Studies with other fields of inquiry.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Free Netlibrary book for January

January eBook of the Month:
Lower Taxes in 7 Easy Steps
by Attorney Stephen Fishman
Nolo, 2006

Many personal finance books are full of hype, promising a radical reduction in taxes (or no taxes at all). Unfortunately, they often tout obscure tax strategies that apply to only a handful of people -- or doubtful schemes that could bring on the IRS.

Lower Taxes in 7 Easy Steps is a different kind of book, providing insights and tactics that can reduce taxes. Clearly and concisely, it explains the seven most valuable rules of tax planning:

  1. Boost tax-free income
  2. Get a lower tax rate
  3. Defer paying taxes
  4. Make the most of deductions
  5. Take advantage of exemptions
  6. Identify and use tax credits
  7. Shift income to other taxpayers

Each rule is fleshed out with plenty of ideas, strategies and real-life examples that can help minimize the pain of April 15.

Tina Lau, North County Librarian

[posted to Netlibrary and Money]