3 reasons failure is awesome

fail owned pwned pictures

Failure is awesome.  It often gets a bad rap, but I like to sing its praises whenever I can. There are at least three reasons I can see why failure is a good thing.

First, failure is funny. I know I have wasted my fair share of time over at the Fail Blog. It’s amusing to watch fellow humans try so hard at something only to see them stymied. For some reason it reminds me of Camus’ take on absurdity.

Second, failure made us what we are today.  All life on earth is a testament to the generative power of failure.  The reason life succeeds so totally on earth is because it is constantly failing. Genetic mutations, failed copies of DNA, are the basis for evolution.  Life constantly fails to copy itself correctly. Often this results in an unsuccessful life form that dies out or cannot reproduce, but every once in a while a mutation may be for the better.  These failed copies allow life to flourish and adapt to changing environments. Failure in this case is a success.

Third, failure is scary but it helps us to succeed. Everyone has failed publicly.  Whether it is a botched solo in a choir concert or a bungled job interview, failure doesn’t feel too good.  But after that failure you’re changed. After tanking on the interview you figure out where you went wrong, or maybe you realize you are not cut out for public singing.  At least now you know.  Failure makes us stronger and more knowledgeable for next time.

The fear of failure often causes us to miss opportunities or holds us back from (eventually) doing great things. Failure is inevitable (as evidenced by the hundreds of pages on the Fail Blog). It is part of the human condition.  Since this is the case why not embrace failure? I am not saying to purposely fail, but don’t fear or get discouraged when you’re less than successful. Failure is healthy. It helps you evolve into a better person.

So go out there and fail, laugh about it, and don’t forget to take pictures and blog them.


Digsby for Reference

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about using Pidgin and Meebo for our IM Reference service.  They have worked fairly well and the service gets a lot of use, but there have been a few problems.  Pidgin would crash unexpectedly which was mildly annoying. The biggest problem though, was that users could leave messages when we were offline.  When we opened up the IM client, their questions would be there waiting for us with no contact information and no way to reach them.

Until now we just lived with it, but when I was writing my previous post on Pidgin I came across an article on LifeHacker.  It was about Pidgin, but in the comments a number of people discussed how they used a different program called Digsby to monitor their IM as well as social network accounts.  I downloaded it, tested it out for a couple of days and found it would likely work well for the library.


At the library we’ll probably only be using Digsby for IM to begin with, but I am pretty confident it will solve our problems.  When you’re offline, their IM widgets do not allow people to leave you offline messages.  Also, because the Digsby widgets and client is all one program (unlike our previous Meebo widgets and Pidgin chat client) it may be more stable.

We just implemented it on the library homepage so we’ll try it for a while.  Classes start Monday so we’ll see soon how well it works.


Video about doing research

photo by lovebuzz on Flickr

photo by lovebuzz on Flickr

A couple weeks ago I completed a video that I made using Captivate by Adobe.  It is the second in depth video I have created, and it turned out pretty well.  I was able to get a little creative utilizing a variety of creative commons pictures on it.  It is kind of personalized towards some of Champlain’s resources, but it explains the research process well.  Have a look.