The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Friday, March 29, 2002

Okay, I couldn't resist leaving you one truly fun link for the weekend. Presenting, Dancing Paul! [via MetaFilter]
1:34:24 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] |

To prepare you for your upcoming weekend:

I'll be going offline now until Sunday night, so hopefully the next time you hear from me, I'll be noting KU's upcoming appearance in the National Championship game on Monday night!

11:54:58 AM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] |

AvantGo Removes Limits on Custom Channels

Lori is on the ball yet again! She picks up the following encouraging news from PalmInfocenter:

"Last month, AvantGo announced a new policy under which it limited the number of subscribers to custom channels to just eight people for each channel. It has now discarded this policy and announced a new one. AvantGo will still limit access to some custom channels but the company will look at each channel individually before making a decision on it. Channels that become popular by word of mouth will not be restricted. Channels that advertise for subscribers and offer products or services for sale will need to sign a contract with AvantGo.

However, AvantGo will still require an agreement for all channels with more than 1,000 subscribers. The owners of these channels will be notified when they reach the limit."

I'm glad they're seeing the problem with thinking they could cut off everyone that can't afford $1000 to pay them for a channel. I would like to see this company succeed, especially now that they're back in touch with their user base.

11:21:24 AM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

"I tried Reese's new Fast Break candy bar today. I really like it, except for the name. What kind of name is "Fast Break" for a candy bar. It should be called Peanut Butter Yummy Goodness. The candy bar has a URL on the wrapper:" [CamWorld]

On a side note, don't forget that depending on the stockpiles in your area, this may be the last weekend to get Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs until this fall. They are the breaskfast of champions! Stock up after Sunday when excess candy gets discounted!

10:49:17 AM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] |

New Web Service Connects Consumers with PDA Bargains

"At the heart of is its price-comparison technology-a fast, reliable engine that searches reputable online stores for the best prices available on any PDA or accessory. The price search, coupled with the site's participation in rebate and exclusive coupon promotions offered by manufacturers and e-tailers, makes the natural choice for cost-conscious shoppers.

Other websites offer price comparisons. But only is dedicated to covering the PDA market in depth. In addition to the site's comprehensive, up-to-the-minute price comparisons from more than twenty online retailers, provides news and reviews about all the latest PDAs and accessories. The community of PDA enthusiasts can also meet at the site to talk, trade tips, and buy/sell/trade their gear." [URLwire]

9:47:01 AM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] |

Schiphol Backs Eye Scan Security

"[Amsterdam's] Schiphol is one of several major European airports embracing new technology to win back passenger confidence amid security fears following September 11....

Passengers register personal details first. Then a picture is taken of their iris -- the coloured diaphragm that controls the size of the pupil -- and recorded on a card, which looks like credit card.

Once the checks are complete, passengers pass through gates inserting the iris scan card and looking into a scanner where their eye is compared with the information on the card....

Privium is initially targeted at business travellers who are pushed for time. 'Even the quickest of fast-track passport and visa controls can take up to 30 minutes,' says Kuypers. 'The biometric passport control, which took us three years to develop, only takes 10 seconds each time -- ideal for business travellers.'

The system will also be used for internal security at Schiphol. 'We are in the process of issuing smart cards to all airport workers and installing iris scans around the high security areas,' added Kuypers.

The makers of iris scanning technology say it can recognise and match every person's identity in seconds and is fool-proof." []

Boy, wouldn't Disney's Eisner love to get his hands on this technology? Then he could prove you're the one, true person that paid for access to his copyrighted material. Of course, I'm joking but he probably wouldn't be.

8:55:31 AM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] |

Mighty Mini Media

"There's plenty of good news for buyers: Larger capacities in everything from CompactFlash to Secure Digital media should decrease the number of cards you have to carry by letting you load up far more music, photos, and other files per card. What's more, even the smallest of cards are getting smarter--the postage stamp-size Secure Digital cards have recently added I/O functionality (see " The Tiniest Peripherals: SDIO"), opening the door to new types of add-in cards for compact audio players and cellular telephones, as well as to multiple slots on larger handheld devices such as Palm and PocketPC PDAs....

A part of flash memory's strength is its increasing capacity, coupled with its ever-decreasing size and cost. Just one year ago, CompactFlash cards topped out at 512MB or so. Today, these commonly used cards can hold about a gigabyte of data--that's hundreds or even thousands of digital photos, depending on their resolution and compression, or dozens of CDs' worth of compressed audio.

Though other formats are more limited by their physical dimensions--at least until higher-capacity flash memory chips appear--they're getting roomier, too. For example, according to a source at flash-memory maker SanDisk, even the petite Secure Digital cards should have reached 256MB by the time you read this. A source at the SD Association says 512MB cards should follow shortly, and SanDisk says versions as large as 4GB may be ready within a year or two." [PC World]

Two items to note here. First, this is a corollary to John Robb's observations about how increases in storage are affecting the copyright system. When storage is portable and you can space shift your digital content so easily, it definitely affects how you view and use information as a whole. Or maybe the key is how it doesn't affect you as it now becomes pervasive to the point where you take it for granted. PDAs are a good example of this.

Second, this article notes that there are currently five formats for flash memory. And the entertainment industry thinks the tech companies are going to agree to implement one standard in one way? Even if they do, how can they guarantee a digital file will work across all of them? The answer is they can't, so consumers will lose.

8:28:51 AM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

Hey, Kate - how come you didn't warn me about this?! Instead, I find out from Drew that:

"Here in Ireland, the verb "to shift" has approximately the same meaning as the American "to neck", or the British "to snog". So "The Shifted Librarian" has a different - albeit still stereotype-breaking - meaning here. :)  "

Cool! I wonder if I'll get invited to give any presentations in Ireland because I'm "shifted"....

6:58:03 AM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] |

New Cars for a Net Generation

"According to Toyota COO Jim Press, the company developed the Scion brand to meet the unique needs of the Internet generation. Press said that by 2010 there will be 60 million potential car owners who grew up online, and they won't accept the status quo in vehicle design or the buying process....

Kids who grew up playing PlayStation and instant-messaging with their friends need "personal expression" and want to "make a statement" with their car purchases, Press said.

To address this audience, Press announced the bbX (for black box) car, which emphasizes right angles and headroom and looks like a futuristic Volvo. To get the attention of what Press said is the "smartest generation of buyers ever," the company has partnered with Pioneer for what appears to be the car's main selling point -- a custom audio system.

The base model will include a six-speaker stereo system that has a 1350-watt maximum output, which Toyota said was specifically designed for the acoustics of the large interior. A CD player will be able to play MP3 discs....

Bolain said Toyota decided not to add Internet access to the vehicle because youngsters want drive time to be time away from information overload....The ccX has a navigation system, DVD player and removable cooler that plugs into its electric outlet. To make the vehicle easy to clean after a day at the beach, the rear of the ccX has a waterproof floor and four drains."  [Wired News]

Unfortunately, I had to buy a car at the wrong time. I bought mine last November, hoping to find something new and different on the market. But nothing had all of the toys I wanted, and I couldn't bring myself to buy an Aztek. I couldn't even get a car with a pre-installed stereo that played MP3s.

However, it's good to see auto manufacturers starting to shift, though. It's pretty savvy of them to start accommodating the Net Gens now because as a market, they're going to be bigger than the Baby Boomers ever were.

It's too bad the entertainment industry doesn't realize this.

6:53:09 AM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] |

NewsInEssence: Web-based News Summarization

"A team of researchers at the University of Michigan has developed NewsInEssence, a free, Web-based service that automates the collection of multiple, related news stories concerning a given event that users selects." [Via A Frog in the Valley by way of Too Much News]

Need some time to play with this, but must get some sleep now....

12:51:57 AM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] |

Okay, so I'm probably the last person on the planet to see this, but it made me laugh. So just in case Bruce hasn't seen it, here is Wile E. Coyote Sues the Acme Corporation for Defective Products. The print version I saw yesterday included a response from the Acme Corporation, though....

12:44:56 AM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] |

Celine Dion Broke My Mac

"Joachim Schaller reports that Celine Dion's latest CD (A New Day Has Come) causes serious trouble when put into a SuperDrive. The CD being sold in Germany is protected by Key2Audio from Sony. Here are some facts as reported on a German forum thread:

  • It won't eject via normal methods.
  • Booting into Mac OS 9.2.2 will take up to 30 minutes until the hard disk will start spinning. Booting into Mac OS X works.
  • Corrupt session data could unpredictably affect the drive's firmware." [MacFixIt, via bOing bOing]
12:42:31 AM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] |

The 300 Most Common Words

"Derryl sez, "It reads like a zen poem."

the of and a to in is you that it he for was on are as with his they at be this from I have or by one had not but what all were when we there can an your which their said if do will each about how up out them then she many some so these would other into has more her two like him see time could no make than first been its who now people my made over did down only way find use may water long little very after words called just where most know" [bOing bOing]

12:34:20 AM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] |

Preparing for the Coming Era of Participatory News

"Meet the Millennials, the 71 million children of Baby Boomers who are coming of age. They download music into mobile players. The expression "You sound like a broken record" means nothing to them. On their cell phones, they never hear a busy signal or fail to get an answer. Pearl Harbor and Vietnam are the stuff of movies; September 11 is a defining event. MTV informs them the way the Big Three Networks informed their parents. They don't read newspapers. Computer use and Internet connectivity are mainstream activities. They consider the special effects in the vintage film Star Wars bogus.

The Millennials are acoustic. They respond to graphics, sound, action, interaction, and immersive activities. Through their experiences, they begin to shape the future of news on a small, inter-connected planet....

As an interconnected society moves toward participating in the news, the Brotherhood of News seeks to protect its values and exert its control. Just as zero changed the equation shaping humanity's vision of the universe, accessible media changes the equation that shapes news and informs society. Everyone is a journalist in the age of access. But for most news organizations, collaboration with their audience is an irrational concept, a dangerous idea" [Online Journalism Review, via Tomalak's Realm]

A tad over the top, but it's still a good explanation of where news may be heading.

12:31:32 AM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] |

EPIC Telemarketing Page

"The Federal Trade Commission is soliciting your comments on changes to the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). The TSR governs how many telemarketers may make calls to your home. This is your opportunity to tell the FTC how to limit telemarketing calls and to increase your privacy!

It is important that members of the public comment. You can do so until March 29, 2002.

The FTC's request for comments is complex and it includes privacy issues, consumer protection issues, and technical aspects of telemarketing." [Privacy Digest]

Actually, the FTC has extended its deadline to April 15, so you still have time to submit comments asking them to create a national "Do Not Call Registry" that would prevent telemarketers from calling any included names (among other things).

"In addition, the Commission will accept comments that are submitted to the following e-mail address:, if the information is organized in sequentially numbered paragraphs. All written comments and electronic submissions should be identified as 'Telemarketing Rulemaking - Comment. FTC File No. R411001.' " [FTC web site]

Make your voice heard!

12:23:54 AM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] |

"Michael Bernstein found a directory of Israeli weblogs." [Scripting News]

I'm going to try to keep up with some of these days, what with everything going on in the Middle East right now, especially as I read tonight that Israeli tanks are moving into Ramallah.

12:04:47 AM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] |