The Radar

Helping You Zero in on New and Exciting Technologies


We Have Moved!

After a lot of behind-the-scenes activity, we are merging most of our sub-blogs into one giant superblog!

Think of it like Voltron, in blog form. You remember Voltron, right?

From now on, you can get all the great information you received from The Answer, The Bookshelf, The Radar, and the Soapbox in one place:

Please update your bookmarks and feeds accordingly. See you at the superblog!

Posted by Toby (former employee) | Posted under Events
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Created Content In the Digital Media Lab: The No Spill Kangaroo Cup video

10-year-old Lily Born set out to design a cup that her grandfather (who has Parkinson’s disease) could use without spilling. After working with her dad (entrepreneur Joe Born) on a design, and creating many prototypes at local art space Bughouse Studio, she came up with the Kangaroo Cup, a stackable, easy-to-grab coffee mug.

The Borns turned to crowdfunding website Indiegogo to help bring the Kangaroo Cup to production. (Want a Kangaroo Cup of your own? Pitch in here.) They created a video  to promote the Cup in the Digital Media Lab using iMovie. The whole process took a couple of days, importing audio, using voice overs, and several other techniques.

YouTube Preview Image

According to Joe Born, “The media center was important in this project. This was practically a hobby but our material was good enough that it moved people.  The media center was important in making that happen.”

Whether you’re creating a video to get your Indiegogo or Kickstarter off the ground, producing a song, or designing artwork to promote your business, the Digital Media Lab can be a useful tool for making your ambitions come alive. How can we help make your project happen?

Posted by Mick | Posted under Created Content, Digital Media Lab
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Library Tech Talk – Episode 13

Mick, Toby and newcomer Brad discuss the library blog redesign, new things they have learned, listener submitted questions, the Overdrive app for the Nook, and the potential demise of Feedburner.

[podcast] [/podcast]

If the embedded player isn’t working please use this link.

Posted by Mick | Posted under Digital Media Lab, Featured, Podcasts
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Created Content in the Digital Media Lab: Sheldon Solvey’s Photos

Sheldon Solvey has been coming in the Digital Media Lab for weeks to digitize his 35mm slides. Here are few photos taken by him from his time in Japan and a wonderful slice of life images from here in the States. You can see additional images on the wall outside of the Digital Media Lab.

If you are interested in submitting some content please let us know!

Posted by Mick | Posted under Created Content, Digital Media Lab, Featured
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Okay, now I have to admit, being a comic book fan I have a biased opinion for the name alone (and the near irresistible urge to shout out “SHAZAM!” whenever I launch the app), but all that aside I have found it to be a fun and useful app for my ipod touch.

I remember bygone days when one heard a song and was relegated to endless torment waiting to catch it on the radio in hopes of finding out the artist, title, or even a snippet of lyrics, which you could then go and hum, or depending on your desperation, break into a full on solo of the torturous tune for some unsuspecting record store employee who would hopefully be able to give name to your pain.

But those days are gone and now we have the power of SHAZAM! ( *Warning* I will be working in the title as often as possible). AND it is so easy. All you have to do is open the app on your mobile device, press the center button, which is the SHAZAM! Logo. The app will then “listen” to the song (takes about 10 sec.) and offer a name if found SHAZAM’s library of music.

But wait, there’s more, SHAZAM! (you were warned about the name usage) now works for television programs. You can use the app to get trivia and cast info from the television program or featured music on the program.

SHAZAM! is a free cross platform app, but you can also buy a subscription with unlimited tagging, and is available for

Posted by tony (former employee) | Posted under app, Mobile, Technology
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Handy Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts can sometimes be a better way to navigate when using a computer.  If you use Gmail, here are a few shortcuts that can make wading through your inbox a little easier.

To compose a new message in a new window use Shift + C.

To scroll between messages in your in box use K to move up and J to move down.

Use X to select a message as you are scrolling through your inbox.

When you are in an email use R to reply to the message, A to reply all, and F to forward the message.

To save a draft of a message so you can work on it later use Ctrl + S.

Use Shift + # to move a message to the trash.

Posted by Cindy | Posted under Technology
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College Classes for the Masses

Welcome to the future of education?

With Coursera, you can take college-level courses from the comfort of home for free.

Coursera is a consortium of universities that offer MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses. MOOCs are typically free and boast extremely high enrollment; a single class can have 100,000 students enrolled. Coursera originated with two Stanford professors and has since evolved into a collaboration of universities from across the world. Currently, Coursera has 195 class offerings and their catalog continues to expand. 33 universities are registered with more expected to hop onboard in the future.

Course offerings vary widely across fields; here’s a small sample of classes Coursera offers:


Introduction to Finance

Planet Earth

Calculus: Single Variable

Synapses, Neurons, and Brains

Archaeology’s Dirty Little Secrets

Introduction to Guitar

A History of the World Since 1300

Introduction to Sustainability

Creative, Serious, and Playful Science of Android Apps


To see a full listing of courses, click here. Each class consists of video lectures, course assignments, and quizzes. There are also discussion forums where you can interact with other students. Classes run anywhere from 3 to 14 weeks. At the successful completion of the class, most universities will provide you with a signed certificate of completion.

If you are interested in even more MOOCs, take a look at edX and Udacity.


Posted by nancy | Posted under Classes, Education, Technology, Websites
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Created Content in the Digital Media Lab: Siyun Deng

Siyun Deng is making some amazing graphic art using Adobe Illustrator in the Digital Media Lab.  She designed these pieces for a class she was taking at the Art Institute of Chicago.  Stop by the DML to check out the poster versions of the art work below.

If you have created video, audio, graphic art or anything else in the DML and would like to have it featured online or in person please let me know. If you are interested in what learning Adobe Illustrator we can help!

Posted by Mick | Posted under Created Content, Design, Digital Media Lab, Featured
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Library Tech Talk – Episode 12

In this Library Tech Talk episode Mick and Toby answer questions they received from listeners, talk about what they have learned since last time, they review everything happening on the 2nd floor including the new study room booking system, and preview upcoming technology classes.

[podcast] [/podcast]

If the embedded player isn’t working please use this link.

Posted by Mick | Posted under Digital Media Lab, Featured, Podcasts
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Findsounds is very interesting website to find various audio that can be used in your productions.  Want a blackbird song in the background of your music, they have 32 versions, want a lion’s roar for the opening of your movie, no problem they have 113.

This can prove to be an invaluable resource for anybody interested in audio for video or audio production.


Posted by Mick | Posted under Digital Media Lab, Featured, Music, Video
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