The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Are A Terrible Thing To Waste

And now my day ends on a surreal note: 20 Tons Of Stolen Chocolate Found:

"A trailer filled with 20 tons of Hershey's chocolate that disappeared more than two years ago has been found in Cumberland County.

Most of the chocolate, estimated to be worth $80,000, was still inside. Police said the trailer was stolen on Aug. 19, 2000, from a Bethel Township truck stop. It was found parked on Harrisburg Pike near Carlisle in September and had been parked for about two weeks before officers investigated....

In this case, the thief got nearly 33,000 cases of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Fifth Avenue candy bars and Peppermint Patties.

Some of the candy, 678 boxes, is missing. Now the rest of it will be destroyed, because its expiration date was about a year and a half ago." [NBC5 News]

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But How Many Adults Know What A "Preface" Is?

Children 'Know More about Internet than Books'

"Six out of 10 youngsters questioned knew the term "homepage" meant the introduction to a website yet only 9% could explain the meaning of a preface in a book.

While 38% knew a hardback was a type of book, 57% correctly answered that hard drive was part of a computer.

The results come in a survey of 1,000 seven to 16-year-olds questioned by NOP Research across the UK.

Less than a quarter knew what to do if someone asked them to RSVP - to reply to an invitation - although 70% were aware what "www" meant in terms of the world-wide web....

Youngsters' reliance on the internet suggests fewer are heading to their local public library to do research. In the poll 25% said the net was their first port of call for help with homework....

In the poll 61% had helped an adult with using the internet, more than a third offer advice to their parents and 20% to their teacher." [Ananova, via | conflux]

And you wondered why your library needs to start shifting now.

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Feed Filtered Google News Into Your Aggregator

Gnews2RSS at

"Search Google News and get the results in RSS format. A neat tool, but not guaranteed by its author. I did a test run and it seemed to work fine. The headlines plus content are available. Let's hope it sticks around for awhile. [Library Stuff, thanks to Library Techlog]

Score another find for Matthew and Steven! It's working for me, too.

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Go Eric, Go Eric!

Library Fun with XML

"Via the XML4LIB mailing list comes a gem for Jenny and others like her: Eric Lease Morganís Fun with XML:

'I found my explorations into XML to be fun and exciting. Because I was describing, manipulating, and disseminating data and information I found myself doing real library work.'

Good stuff...." [Caveat Lector]

Dorothea beat me to posting this one! I won't pretend that I understand most of what Eric discusses, but I'd like to think I will someday.

On a side note, Eric has been a busy boy, also releasing a new version of the MyLibrary software.

"MyLibrary is a user-centered, customizable interface to collections of Internet resources -- a portal providing the means for maintaining much of a database-driven website."

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You know you're a jaded PC user when you see the headline Microsoft Reports Progress in Averting Computer Crashes and you think it's another Onion satire.

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Sony Stays Ahead Of The Pack

Sony Announces NX70V and NX60

"Physically, the new models are almost identical to the NR70 and NR70V, which are likely to be discontinued by year's end. The NX70V and NX60 include 320x480-pixel displays, the flip-and-twist screen design, an integrated MP3 player, a built-in AV remote controller application, the Jog Dial navigator and a Memory Stick slot.

While the CLIE PEG-NX70V handheld is not the first Palm-Powered device to feature an integrated camera (that distinction goes to the NR70V), it is the first device with a digital camera that can capture both still images and video clips. The camera features a 2X digital zoom and can take VGA-size images (640 x 480 pixels) and record MPEG4 video clips. On a 128MB Memory Stick, users can store up to 60 minutes of continuous video (at 160 x 112 pixels).

Wireless connectivity makes its debut on the NX-series handhelds in the form of an integrated communications slot that accommodates Sony's optional PEGA-WL100 Wi-Fi (802.11b) card. This allows users to browse the Internet, send and receive POP3 e-mail, and wirelessly HotSync with a PC.

For occasions when there is no time to jot down notes, the NX series offers a built-in voice recorder that enables users to record up to 535 minutes of thoughts and ideas on a 128MB Memory Stick media card (in Long Play mode). Stored in ADPCM (adaptive differential pause code modulation) format, these voice memos can be played back on a CLIE handheld or transferred to a PC to be played later....

The CLIE PEG-NX70V and PEG-NX60 will be available at retailers nationwide next month for about $600 and $500, respectively. The PEGA-WL100 Wi-Fi modem card will be available for about $150." []

Suh-weet! I'm going to hold out hope that the next version (the PEG-NX80?) will have Bluetooth embedded in it so I could use a Bluetooth headset and make phone calls with it. Then, all of my digital convergence dreams will have come true.

SLS management should consider this post as notice that I'll be taking off from work to go stand in line the day that device comes out.  :-P

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HP to Release Two New iPaqs

"The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company will use the low-end model to go after the $200 to $400 midrange market, which accounts for half of all handheld shipments, according to Cindy Box, a marketing director for handhelds at HP. Like its predecessors, the device has four buttons, a brushed-metal case and a color screen. However, the new device is far thinner and smaller, and also includes a Secure Digital expansion slot. In an interview, Box briefly demonstrated the device. However she declined to provide specifications and pricing for the new models.

HP is also aiming at corporate users with the high-end device, which includes built-in 802.11b wireless and Bluetooth capabilities along with a built-in fingerprint reader that can be used to give a device owner exclusive access to the machine. The high-end unit will be priced in the $400 to $650 range, a niche that Box said accounts for a third of all handheld shipments.

Future versions of the high-end unit will include the built-in ability to connect with cellular networks, starting with the GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) network." [CNET]

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Homer Is Ready For His Close-Up, Mr. DeMille

Simpsons on the Silver Screen

"An anonymous reader writes "It looks like Matt Groening is going to actually go through with it. This article says that the cast of the Simpsons has signed on for at least 3 feature films. Hooray!" I hope they call them Episodes 4, 5 and 6." [Slashdot]

If you listen carefully, you can hear my brother screaming with glee. Yes, glee.

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Pixel Perfect

BNF Turned into Giant Display

I've posted about this before, but the live stream is available right now and at the moment, it's nighttime in Paris so you can watch the fun. I'm utterly mesmerized by this! [via /usr/lib/info]

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The Secret Life of Bees: Questions for the Author

"Quote: 'Dear Students,

It is an exceptionally nice honor to have you reading my novel in your Modern American Literature class! I'm extremely impressed with your weblog, which I've been following. What fun for the author to listen in on your discussions and see the wonderful and provocative artistic interpretations that you've created. The experience has opened my eyes to new ideas about my own work!'

Comment: ...and the author responds. Is that cool or what?" [Serious Instructional Technology]

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DRM Legislation As It Should Be

DRM Bill Proposed in US House

"A bill introduced Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives approaches digital rights management (DRM) from consumers' standpoint by ensuring that people who buy digital media can make backup copies and play them on whatever device they like without fear of breaking copyright law, according to the bill's sponsor.

Representative Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California whose district includes Silicon Valley, introduced the bill, saying the legislation seeks to maintain in the digital age the same balance that existing U.S. copyright law establishes between the interest of copyright holders in controlling the use of their works and the interests of the public in the free flow of ideas, information and commerce.

'Consumers need a voice in this debate,' a release issued by Lofgren's office quotes the congresswoman as saying. "Right now it is the entertainment industry versus the technology industry, and the consumers are watching from the sidelines."

The bill seeks to punish digital pirates without treating every consumer as a criminal, the release said. Lofgren noted that current proposals to combat digital piracy focus on "locking down" content and controlling how consumers use it. Cryptographic tools currently under development, for example, could play a role in legislative efforts to prevent copyright violations of DVDs.

The bill also prohibits shrink-wrapped licenses, also known as EULAs (end-user license agreements), that limit consumer rights, and the proposal clarifies the ways in which consumers can legally sell, archive or give away copies of digital works they purchased. In addition the law gives flexibility to digital content owners to develop new and innovative ways to protect their content and enable its use without violating copyright law." [InfoWorld: Top News]

Do my eyes deceive me? Is this common sense being interjected into the debate? Room spinning... Jenny confused....

I'm trying to research the bill and verify it in order to get the details so that I can encourage my representatives to vote for it! Now if we could just get her to add language clarifying a library's right to circulate content....

Addendum: Just as I was starting to research the bill, we lost power at work. We heard that a crane in the nearby expressway construction fell on some power lines, but I haven't been able to find any trace of the story on the web. I guess the web is only good for finding really big breaking news.

Anyway, the Zoe Lofgren's DRM bill is all over the blogosphere now, so here are some further links:

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My Life As An RSS Icon

"Radio Wish: [John Robb] Wouldn't it be interesting to have an RSS variant (new name obviously) for subscribing to personal contact data off of weblogs?  Name, weblog name, weblog location, physical address (or as much as you want to provide), spam free e-mail account location, IM link to username, location of RSS feed, Bio info, bio pic, resume, etc.  To a large extent this would replace my bookmark and e-mail contact list.  I truly think that weblogs are starting to become global 24x7 business cards.  This would help me collect them.

Answer: [Kunekt] Kunekt Cards make your contact information available as an RSS or RDF (News) feed." [Don W Strickland: RadioFAQ]

This is exactly what I mean when I say that ever since I've discovered RSS and news aggregators, I've started looking at my life through RSS-colored glasses. So in this spirit, here's my Kunekt card.

Logo to subscribe to my contact information card

Now what?

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It's Not Just The Entertainment Industry That Has Lost All Perspective And Common Sense

Cubs Angling to Buy Rooftop Buildings (emphasis below is mine)

"First the Cubs accused rooftop clubs overlooking Wrigley Field of ''stealing our product.'' Then they put up windscreens to try to stop it. Now they're effectively saying, ''If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.''

During protracted--and now stalled--negotiations over how much rooftop club owners should pay to compensate the Cubs, team officials have asked for the right of first refusal to purchase the 13 buildings that line Waveland and Sheffield.

That's apparently one more reason why rooftop owners are so dead-set against the Cubs' demand that they purchase licenses giving them the right to view Cubs games....

Mark McGuire, vice president of business operations for the Cubs, refused to discuss the request for right of first refusal. He also held out little hope for an agreement with rooftop owners, who have offered to pay the team $14 for every patron they draw. The Cubs, who have demanded $19 a head, have turned their attention toward cutting a deal with the city in time to meet an Oct. 6 deadline to landmark Wrigley." [Chicago Sun-Times]

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I'm having a surreal morning and I haven't even left for work yet. I came downstairs to find Kailee on the computer. I almost broke my neck walking by when I saw the word "naked" on the screen. Luckily, she was only looking up "naked mole rats" and she had gone to to do it. Whew.

When she got no hits for this query, she exclaimed, "I just want my naked mole rats!" So I showed her how to do phrase searching in Google. I have yet to find out why she is researching naked mole rats. Thank heavens the porn sites haven't thought to use that term on their sites! Please note, too, that if we were using filtering software on our computers, Kailee wouldn't have found any information at all on naked mole rats.

Then I walked into the kitchen where Brent was eating breakfast and watching a Power Rangers show on TV. I walked in at the exact moment when one of the Rangers said, "I would help defeat [some enemy], but first we have to get out from under this dancing spell!"

Ah, but at least Ernie is back!

Addendum: Will believes he's found Kailee's motivation for researching naked mole rats. You can tell that my librarian skills are atrophying, because I didn't do a proper reference interview to determine that Kailee was looking for a particular naked mole rat.

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Have You Hugged Your Library Lately?

Technology Review: Data Extinction

"On the plane this morning got caught up on some magazine reading. I absolutely love MIT's Technology Review - in its latest incarnation, it focuses on all things relating to innovation. The result is a magazine that is full of useful and intriguing information.

This month's cover story is on data extinction (available to subscribers only) - the challenge of preserving access to data as systems, applicaions and operating systems evolve. Some revealing statistics:

  • volume of business-related e-mail will rise from 2.6 trillion messages in 2001 to 5.9 trillion messages in 2005 (source: IDC)
  • JPEG is becoming outmoded by JPEG 2000; result: in five years it may be difficult for you to view photos taken today with digital cameras.
  • Land use and natural resource inventories for the state of New York in the late 60s are no longer accessible - the customized software that produced the inventories no longer exists.
  • NASA satellite data from the 70s is completely unreadable today.

...." [tins ::: Rick Klau's weblog]

I really wanted to read this article after Rick pointed it out, so I hopped on over to FirstSearch and looked it up in ArticleFirst. Unfortunately, they're a little behind and the "current issue" is still September. However, I will soon be able to go back there and read this article for free, and I want to stress yet again that if you are an Illinois resident, so can you. (If you don't live in Illinois, check with your local public library for similar access because other states offer this type of service, too.)

Illinois residents are entitled to use several of the FirstSearch databases for free, courtesy of your friendly Illinois State Library. If I'm not mistaken, 2002 is the ten-year anniversary for this program, so if you're not already taking advantage of this great opportunity, you've been missing out big time and you should make haste to do so.

The first thing to do is find your local public library's web site and see if they offer scripted access to the FirstSearch databases. If they do, you should just have to put in your library barcode number to get access. (Note to SLS libraries: if you're not already offering this, contact me and we'll get you set up!). If they don't, you'll have to contact them to get the autho and password in order to manually enter it. Did I mention this is free to you?

Either way, you'll get free access to ABI/INFORM (business information), ArticleFirst (13,000 journals in all types of categories), ERIC (educational documents and articles), Health & Wellness Information, MEDLINE, Periodical Abstracts (1500 popular and academic journals, including transcripts), Wilson Select Plus (Readers Guide abstracts and more), and WorldCat (find materials at thousands of libraries) among others. Even better, some of these databases provide the full text of the article online, right there on the screen. Did I mention this is free to you?!

In ArticleFirst, you can also browse by journal title and often view the current issue. So in the near future, I'll come back and check for the article Rick highlighted. :-)

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