After many years of loyal service, the database built in the Stone Age of the internet (the ’80s) by our own esteemed technology advance guardsman, Professor Emeritus Jim Bindon, was retired by necessity. It was built in ColdFusion, essentially the Beta of databases, and was no longer supported. Fortunately, we were able to have it transferred to another server and service and are now up and running again with institutional support. Thank you, Jim, for your technological innovations and many years of maintaining them for our behalf.
In addition to tried and true wonders of technology to streamline our workflow are new innovations. One I’ve become fond of in 2014 is the vBookz PDF Voice Reader app. This app reads PDFs that have been processed with OCR text recognition software. It comes at a cost of $4.99 from the Apple Store and can be used with a female or male voice. While the voices are a bit robotic and mispronounced some words, it is good enough to make plowing through a pile of papers that need grading, theses and dissertations that need evaluating, or the numerous readings per week for our various classes much easier. I even scan in books to make better use of the time I’m walking the dog, driving to campus, or even so I can walk around campus and enjoy the weather while reading. Listening goes much faster than reading because you don’t slow down when your mind wanders (though you may have to rewind occasionally).