Wednesday, July 5, 2017

I fought a Snorlax and other Pokemon Go updates

It has been a year since Pokemon Go first took the world by storm. The question...who is still playing? Well at level 34 and counting, I'm still all in.  I need over 1 million XP to get to level 35. It will take me MONTHS. I was pretty excited to see what the anniversary had in store. I was hoping for trading as I have promised many kids to come in. I was going to do raffles to unload some my Gyaradoses onto them. It takes 400 Magikarp candies to make one Gyarados so they are highly coveted. They are taking up my inventory but I worked so hard on them I don't want to just grind them up for candies!

Niantic focused on revamping the gym system, which are now Pokestops to spin as well. Gone are the days where I would find a few out of the way gyms, stay in it for WEEKS, and just collect poke coins. It actually isn't worth being in multiple gyms anymore. As long as your Pokemon stays in a gym for one hour per day, you earn a max of 50 Pokecoins (10 coins per minute) and even if any of the other Pokemon in different gyms are returned in the same day or stays in a gym all day, you won't collect any more coins. Pokemon in gyms will lose their CP (hit points) the longer they are left in the gym unfed and battled. Anyone from your color team can feed your Pokemon berries, pineapples or bananas, so it doesn't have to be you in person hanging out near the gym. They do get sick of eating just one thing so keep all varieties. You could be in the middle of battle and someone starts to feed them berries therby erasing all YOUR work.  Not to mention, if you put something 3000 CP or above, they lose their health quicker if not give raspberries.  So there are pros and cons. I feel like they were trying to get the players that haven't been as die hard as I am a chance to come back to the game without penalty.

Everyday you are entitled to one RAID pass as long as you are level 5 or above, which allows you to fight alone or in a team (any team), a rare Pokemon. The raids occur randomly throughout the gyms and you have an hour to battle once the Pokemon is revealed.   It looks like an egg with a countdown timer until it runs out. Once you log into an area with a raid battle, it will notify you in the top of your screen.

This means that people who have been waiting for their chance to get a Snorlax or Tyranitar are in luck especially if you can go somewhere like the Boston Common where there are multiple gyms within eyesight. The Pokemon that are available during raids will change but right now I've seen Muk, Flareon, Typhlosion, Electrabuzz, Magikarp (yes they might be a rare gold one), Tyranitar, Snorlax, and Magmar. I battled one Snorlax over by Simmons College with 8 other people.  It was a 4 rated monster battle, which you can see between the egg and the timer. There was no way I could have done it alone. Once you decide to battle, you have 120 seconds to see if anyone else wants to join you. At level 35, I can fight a 2 rated monster by myself with 6 Pokemon around 2500 CP each but you also have to consider the time limit. Your Pokemon might have high CP but you can't defeat a monster like that in 180 seconds.  Once you have defeated the Pokemon, you have a certain number of special Poke balls to catch it. The higher the monster rating, the harder it will be to catch so practice your EXCELLENT catches with the small red ring centers. One Snorlax was caught easily, one disappeared and I lost my one opportunity so far at a Tyranitar.  All the Pokemon caught are either strong or amazing Pokemon so they are well worth the effort with high CP and good move sets. In addition to getting a chance to catch the Pokemon, victorious battles give out rare candies (which can be exchanged to ANY regular candies for one Pokemon you have but never find like Chanseys), a TM or trainer's manual which allows you to change the move sets of your Pokemon, revives, and the coveted XP/Stardust so you can level your favorite battle Pokemon.  If you lose a raid, you have the option of going back in without another raid pass.  If you fail to catch the Pokemon after battle however, you do not get another chance until you find another raid.

I really haven't seen too many people playing lately but once you hit a raid spot, it is hard to miss. I love that all the teams can come together to battle. It isn't just a "Oh are you team red?" The gyms themselves still can only be taken by one color but it is a nice touch to cooperate on these big battles. 

For librarians who have gyms in their local area, it might be nice to post on Facebook or other social media when a raid is happening and what Pokemon it is. You have to have an account to log in periodically to check for a raid. You only have an hour to notify anyone so it couldn't be something to set up well in advance. There are also huge events going on in major cities. The first Pokefest is going on in Chicago. Rumor has it that they might reveal Legendary Pokemon which have not been released yet. Each team color has a special legendary Pokemon. They have only been glimpsed on their team insignia thus far.  It would be amazing for the library to have a presence there. Tickets  sold out in hours of the posting of the event but even if a library had a booth near the park you would see hundreds of new faces!

If you have an account and have off desk flexibility, advertise yourself as being able to help with raids.  For example, since I'm such a high level I could REALLY help out another player and I can reach the gym from our picture book area. And who wouldn't want to play Pokemon during work hours?It's creative customer service and a raid can be under 5 minutes long with battle wait time.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

3D Printing Signs for the Library Collection

Last weekend, I went to the annual Tee-Off mini golf event at the Brookline Public Library. As a first time visitor, I was mini-golfing with my phone at the ready. Special thanks to the AMAZING librarian rockstar Robin Brenner for so many great ideas. It truly is worth a visit just to see her teen room. Here are a few 3D printing/marketing ideas to takeaway:

Having a  3D printer filtration cart would be wonderful in our library. Look at the price if you dare. Right now I have to go downstairs to retrieve prints because we are concerned about the fumes and little hands touching anything while the printer is on.  I have a video camera set up downstairs using an iPad 2 and the free app called Presence for monitoring but sometimes I do forget to keep checking the presence website while I'm on the desk especially since it makes this annoying beeping sound to say, "Are you still watching?!"..As the sign reveals on the cart, the propensity to want to lean or jostle the cart is probably high. I'm curious how many times the prints have shifted or failed due to this.  Still, one can dream right?

My second takeaway was the push I needed to redo signage in the children's room. I was inspired by a post on Storytime Underground Facebook group about Medfield's new signage in their library but kept putting it off. The second I stepped into the Brookline teen room I squee'd out loud at the 3D printed directory signs. It was like the peanut butter to my jelly marketing sandwich.
 squee GIF
Here are my results so far:

I was going to use only 5 colors in our main room (using the color harmony theory) then reuse the same colors in our picture book room but I hate that the bottom turned into Christmas colors. I will change the colors to pink & teal so each section, regardless of the room, will have a separate color now.  Before I print it on vinyl, I attached it to a pillar to let it ruminate with us for a while.  I already think it needs to be much bigger size wise.  The current size is 16 x 24.  I made this in Canva but Publisher would work too. UPDATE: I already ended up taking it down because the arrows just aren't cutting it. We need something 3 dimensional so the arrows can point more accurately like Diagon Alley or perhaps the signage is enough?

Now onto the fun 3D printing part, letters are magnetized with magnetic adhesive strips and had to be printed in 3-4 letter groups due to the size of the letters vs my printing bed on the Ultimaker 2 Extended. I'm trying not to go into signage over load but you could print out numbers to correspond to the Dewey Decimal range of each isle in the non-fiction.  I ended up making numbered isles for the fiction section already. The color coding is a big hit so far. It is much easier than pointing. Now I can say it is in Isle 2, see that green 2, under KINNEY.  (Guess what's our most popular question). 

These are beginning chapter books like Magic Tree House, Junie B. Jones etc. We spent alot of time last year taking them out of the general fiction collection. 

Here are the links to my tinkercad files. Isle numbersFICT  ION 

Note: if you are wondering about the BIOGRAPHIES sign that was made with our lovely silhouette machine. Adios Accucut!

Share some other user experience ideas in the comments. I would love to see them!

Friday, June 23, 2017

You can make fidget spinners with Perler Beads!

We are doing a series of Crafternoon programs this summer. In order to get some buzz going, we left this out on the children's desk and it has been a huge conversation starter.

Randomly, one kid asked, "Do you think you can make a fidget spinner with Perler beads?"

Answer, "YES"

Monday, April 24, 2017

3D Printing Fidget Spinners

The latest craze seems to be these Fidget spinners for idle hands. They can easily be 3D printed in an hour from the thousands of already made files out there in tinkercad and other sites.

If you have a 3D printing class coming up at the library hosting a fidget spinner design course in tinkercad will be a sure sell out. People are already started to create their own tutorials based on the size of their ball bearings.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Pokemon Go Revival with Generation 2

Pokemon Go has been getting steadily quieter in New England, as the craze of this summer hit critical mass then slowly as the weather got worse brought out only the die hard fans with unlimited data plans on their phone ::ahem:: Level 31 thank you very much. I still get beaten out of our library gym every few days and I still see some kids playing but it has not been on the tip of anyone's tongues since the holidays hit.  The holidays tried to keep the fervor up by offering special incentives during Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the lastly on Valentine's Day. Special Pokemon increased spawn rates, candies were doubled, lures lasted for 6 hours, etc. as long as you logged in during the week of the holiday and kept up with the app updates.

For those who need a refresher, look at this earlier blog post.  You may or may not know that Niantic released a huge update last Thursday, adding 80 new Pokemon called "Generation 2" that are available to catch. Most of them look like insects of some form or another. This is a huge score for the game as even the most seasoned players are getting tired of catching the common Pidgies and Weedles just for stardust or forever walking 10K eggs in hope of getting one of the elusive rare Pokemon they are missing.  

What librarians need to know: Trading is still not an option, but anyone with a Pokestop near their library can now drop lures for a crowd that is eager to catch all the new Pokemon. I walked 26 miles this weekend trying to catch as many new ones as I could. I'm not exaggerating. Plus I'm trying to get my 1 Chansey to evolve into a Blissy which is one of the biggest gym competitors in the game. If you hold a particular gym for 21 hours, you get coins and extra Stardust. This keeps going every 21 hours after redemption until you get kicked off by another team. Since Chansey's are rare, I have to walk the Chansey as my companion. For every 5 Kilometers I walk, I get another candy.  Needless to say, I have to walk another 200K for this end. 
Swinubs, Sentrets, Ledybas and Natus are common to find in most areas with an increased spawn rate (at least for now) in the wild. Think Pidgies, Weedles, and Spearows of Generation 1, they're everywhere. The catching screen has changed to make it easier to select which Pokeball to use as well as adding Nanab berries which can try to immobilize Pokemon (they can now zig zag around the screen to avoid being caught) and Pinap berries that will increase the amount of candy you get if you catch it while "under its spell". These new berries can be found by spinning Pokestops. Each Pokemon that you try to catch can only be fed with one berry. The Razz berry is still the one to go to if you really want to ensure a successful capture.

Some of the Generation 1 Pokemon now have an additional evolvement shown in pink that requires a "special item" like a sun stone in addition to a number of candies required from catching a certain amount of them. These are RARE. I must have spun about 100 stops this weekend only to get 1! They are completely randomly but having a stop at your library helps meet that end, and if you are lucky to have more than 1 stop, consider it time for another Pokewalk while the snow is melted.  I wish we knew Generation 2 was coming with a bit more notice because school vacation would have been a great opportunity for programming.

If you are curious whether special rare Pokemon are near you that you can advertise on social media, consider using the Silph Road, a website where players report on "nests". Every update changes what nest is currently in a certain area but it could last for a few weeks at least. I found myself driving around last night looking for Wobuffets after reported and confirmed sightings in a local field in Quincy using their Nest Atlas. Silph Road is actually a great resource for all things Pokemon and a perfect jumping off point from this article.  Happy hunting!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Cozmo is my Valentine

I was so excited to get the robot, Cozmo from Anki which I have been drooling over since before Christmas. He is finally available for purchase on Amazon for $180.  He lives up to the hype and then some.  My one hiccup so far has been syncing him to one of our iPads through Apple Configurator.  I had to unsupervise the device completely because the free app needs an iTunes account attached to the iPad to run. Once I installed it from the iPad directly rather than through Configurator it worked fine. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you probably use gift cards to purchase apps rather than the Volume Purchasing program. 

If you wanted him available for patron checkout, he can be synced to multiple devices (just not more than one running at the same time). He will remember all his learning so once you unlock games for the first time he will remember from one device to another. He also remembers everyone "he meets" so if you run the meet Cozmo feature, look at him, and then type in your name he will remember you across devices. He can also remember pets with the latest update. When you are in explorer mode, you can see what he sees and your name will come up on the screen when he looks at you. If you press greet, he will say your name...kinda creepy at first but totally cool.

After only a few hours of game play, I have unlocked all the available games and tricks he can do so far, however, he still has daily tasks every time you sign in such as "let him play by himself for 10 minutes" or "play memory match without any errors" to keep you motivated.  For every task completed he earns sparks and bits which can be used to unlock new features, make him say something or "work out" with the cubes.

On the bottom right of the home screen, you can see what Cozmo is doing/thinking unless you are controlling him in expolorer mode. Sometimes it says he is upset, usually if you try to pick him up or won't play with him, sometimes he's just looking around, and sometimes he wants to pounce on your finger. I love that he wants to be petulant and pounce on your finger. Does it make me a bad parent if I keep placating him? He's just so darn cute! Apparently he was designed by a Pixar animator so no wonder why he reminds me of Wall-E.

He has fallen off the table a few times so be careful and make sure to leave a clear space for him to roam. When I had begun to play games with him like quick tap, I won easily but as the game has become harder, he wins much more often.

Apparently there is more to come with programming features to customize his capabilities.  So he's more than just a pretty face, he can actually teach code with Python.

Meet Cozmo! from Duxbury Free Library on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Splitting Objects for 3D printing

Since we have to worry about limiting hours of printing to when we are open learning to split items in Tinkercad is a very handy skill.

I split this Disney castle that I found on Tinkercad for a student's Florida project. It was going to be over 10 hours so I split it in half so we didn't have to "print overnight". I tried to split this object in CURA first but no luck. 

A little bit of superglue and this one will be ready to go. Just be sure that you don't adjust the size while in Cura because the halves won't sync up. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Science Toolboxes: An Update

We have been expanding our science kits in the
children's room in an effort to introduce non-traditional circulating items for over a year now. We have littleBits, Raspberry Pi 2, Sphero, Cubelets, KEVA planks and Makey Makeys. Our newest editions were the robots, Dash and BeeBot, which gained popularity after we had them out to test during the Hour of Code. I happen to be showing one of the kids the littleBits kit, since all the robotics kits were out, when I noticed some bits are just not holding up during circulation.

Our littleBits kit included Lego adapters, mounting boards, and the small starter kit which doesn't seem to be available anymore with 10 bits included. If you are new to littleBits, they are small magnetic pieces, each with their own function, that can be put together to make an electronic invention. Bits include lights, sensors, motors and speakers. You can integrate them into recyclables, Lego projects, sewing name it! For a while, we used them in house for makerspace activities but we decided to try to circulate them for personal patron use. If you are looking to go this route, here's some advice:

First thing to watch is the battery wire. You might want to electrical tape it because they are constantly breaking. I have already replaced this at least 3 times. I have no idea why there's exposed wires on there to begin with.

2nd thing to watch is the plastic screw driver which is necessary to change the color of lights on the LED or the pulse speed input so it's something that's necessary but apparently fragile as the head usually breaks off.

3rd thing that breaks continually is the vibrating motor output which also has an exposed wire between the motor itself and the bit. Perhaps electric tape would help in this instance too? Or just take my advice and get another output that's just as fun but less exposed like the Buzzer. I have been keeping my eye on the pressure sensor input as well since it says DO NOT BEND and yet it always comes back with a bit of a crease (but still works::knock on wood::). I might swap that out for the motion sensor input since it seems more durable. I would advise to take out anything with exposed wires or fragile components and save those for in house projects.

My other failed attempt at a science kit this year is the 3Doodler 2.0, the first plastic extruding 3D pen, which has too many nozzle and jamming issues. One caused by even a seasoned user like myself while prepping it for circulation. The nozzle broke straight off while I was trying to fix a jam. The previous user left filament in the pen which I can image happening often during circulation as well. Even though my boyfriend swears I have hulk hands, I WAS being careful and following the instructions to the letter. Here are some examples of the fine details to fixing jams with this pen:

  Unscrew the nozzle only when the pen is hot (Spoiler: the nozzle isn't that secure in the removal tool once out so don't do it over your lap). It also makes references to "pulling out" the filament GENTLY or it could ruin the gears inside. Then using another special tool (which could get lost easily) to push filament through the pen, stopping when you feel resistance..this is all very detailed, delicate work that could occur at home with the patron or every time this comes back jammed to the librarian.

Even normal pen usage is quite detail oriented, you have to be sure that the temperature matches the filament being used and (spoiler: once out of the package PLA and ABS look the same!) So if you were going through with the kit, I'd only keep one or the other in there so they don't get mixed up.

So moral of this story is science kits are a wonderful thing to add to your library collection but there is always time to reflect on the number and delicacy of the pieces being circulated.