Friday, May 13, 2011

Chasing down a proxy error

Ah, the joy of troubleshooting. Just before heading off to San Francisco last month for IUG, I noticed that searches passed to our catalog weren't working in Firefox, Safari, or Chrome. They worked fine in IE, but in the other browsers we got a proxy error. I didn't have any time to chase after this bug until this past week. It's not fixed yet, but we (and when I say "we" I mean MPL's network consultant and Pandorabots) are narrowing down where the problem isn't. Next step is to look at our webpac server logs. A ticket's been opened with Innovative. This really needs to get resolved before ALA in June.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Acronyms yes, Estonian no.

O.K. Emma will learn some of the more common text message acronyms or chat shorthand or whatever the proper term is for these things. It's on the list. Should be fairly easy. I'll dump some pages from into pandorawriter and let it generate the code. Piece of cake. I will not, however, program her to speak Estonian. Stop asking and just forget it. If you want a cartoon cat that answers questions about an Ohio public library in Estonian, I really can't help you. I suggest you make your own bot to answer questions about an Estonian public library, instead. You could make it something other than a cat. Maybe a talking pineapple or a set of allen wrenches. The wrenches could move around and form the answers. Very cute, people would love it! There. A great idea to keep you occupied. Let me know when it's finished. Michele and I have six weeks to prepare for ALA and plenty of work to do. In English.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Report from Philadelphia

Chatbots 3.1 was something. Ten excellent presentations on a wide array of topics. Besides meeting some of the leaders in this field, it was great to hear their thoughts on bot design and function, and to gather ideas for improving our own humble bot. We've already improved the way Emma directs questions to the library catalog and to databases, and that's just the beginning. Plenty more to work on!

I didn't have a chance to look around the city; pretty much flew in, presented, then got ready to leave again. One thing that impressed me was the narrowness of the streets. Everything felt confined. My flight home was cancelled, so I had to spend an extra night at the hotel. Didn't get to sleep until around 2 a.m. because of the noise, even on the 8th floor.

The whole conference was recorded, so stay tuned for links to YouTube.