The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Broadband and Video Games

Thanks to Kottke, I'm paging through Yahoo's Games on Demand service. How long has this been available?

"Yahoo! Games on Demand is the one-stop online destination where you can play top PC games on demand through a broadband connection. Whether you like role-playing, action, simulation or arcade games, this service allows you to try games before purchasing them and create a customized subscription of favorites. Yahoo! Games on Demand offers the same full-version game-play as a CD-ROM game at a fraction of the cost. What this means to you:

  • No more buying games before you know if you like them.
  • No more late fees or rushing to return your rented games.
  • No more demos with limited features.

Visit Yahoo! Games on Demand to see all the great games available for rent."

I'm not thrilled that I'd have to use the Yahoo! Wallet service, and non-Windows users are left out in the cold, but I'm still intrigued. You can try out Atari ArcadeCivilization III, Grand Theft Auto II, Pong, a bunch of the Tycoon titles, and lots of shoot-em-up and role-playing games. I'm scared to try this for fear of a return to PC video game addiction (can you tell I'm a Gen-Xer?).

Seven-year old Brent loves to play video games at hotels, so he'd probably adapt to this pretty quickly. Of course, he doesn't have a credit card. First movies on demand, now video games on demand. Is cable going after this market, too?

Today at work, I was helping someone install Netscape 4.8 (don't laugh - it's the only browser that will display certain reports from the online catalog properly), and the download was slow-going. This staff member has dial-up at home, so she lamented how long something like this would take on her 56k modem. But she quickly noted that there was no way she was going to pay $40/month for a broadband connection. Before I could point out that the cost has actually gone up and is closer to $50/month, she said she doesn't need a fast connection at home anyway since she has one at work.

Clearly broadband providers don't realize that they could make up in volume the numbers they are losing to the barrier of high prices. That staff member would do broadband if it was $20-$25/month, as would most of my neighbors. They'd hook more housewives that way. Then services like Yahoo's Games on Demand would be available to NetGens who would run with it, not to mention the music and video downloads. Legal ones, of course. Oh, wait... there aren't any that they'd use yet. Never mind.

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Checky 0.5.1 for Mozilla and Netscape

"The Checky plug-in is an simple Interface for Web content and resource developers to free and commercial online Validator and Checker services.

With Checky you can now easy setup, combine and use 18 different online Validator and Checker services. Simple choose your services with Checky-Agent than browse to a web resource and press F10 to display the results of the selected services in a new browser tab or window.

Service-Interfaces available for HTML, XHTML, CSS, RDF, RSS, XML, SGML, WAI, 508, various viewer, valets and purifiers.”

Whoo, boy! Mozilla has one-upped 'em other browsers!" [meryl's notes]

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And You Think Students Are Distracted By Wi-Fi Surfing!

Quick Nokia 7650 Thoughts

"There was a problem with the GPRS - but it wasn't the phone, Telefonica is having computer problems this morning so it's not set up yet. The phone store is across the street from my office, so I went back over to see what the problem was. While waiting for my salesperson to finish up with another customer, I whipped out the Nokia and started playing some games. Full color arcade games in my hand! WOW! The experience was the same as if I pulled out my Gameboy. Seriously. I was so absorbed I didn't notice that the guy was done and the customer behind me had to point out that it was my turn. DOH! This mobile game stuff is going TO ROCK THE EARTH." [Russell Beattie Notebook, via Scripting News]

This is sooooo going to be me someday.

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Not Plugged Directly Into Your Body Quite Yet

Amp Your iPod

picture of the Burton Jacket sleeve and the controls on it"And the last tidbit from Macworld today: the Burton Amp, a jacket from Apple and Burton Snowboards that comes with built-in iPod controls on the sleeve. Just make sure not land on the volume button when you wipe out." [Gizmodo]

This is great, because whenever I show this slide during my presentations, I usually get disbelieving laughter. If I had an iPod, I'd get one of these just to be able to wear it and show folks that intelligent clothing is closer than we think.

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Instant Messaging Milestone

100 Million Text Messages Sent on New Year's Day

"More than 100 million text messages were sent in the UK on New Year's Day as people greeted friends and relatives.

It is the first time the number of text messages in one day has topped the 100 million mark, according to Mobile Data Association research.

The total number of chargeable person-to-person text messages sent across the four UK network operators between midnight on December 31 and midnight on January 1 was 102 million.

It marked a 59% increase on the same period in 2002 and more than twice the 2002 daily average, MDA added." [Ananova, via Lockergnome's Bits and Bytes]

Do you really doubt this is going to eventually hit big in the U.S.? Libraries need to start preparing for an instant messaging future.

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Let's Move Forward on Digital Music Downloads Already

Music Biz: Compromise Is Key

"As digital file sharing, webcasting and other new technologies proliferate, artists and industry officials meeting here said the music business is in jeopardy unless artists, record companies and consumers stop fighting and start compromising.

'People are always looking for what side to be on, and there isn't just one side,' said Jenny Toomey, executive director of the Future of Music Coalition, which sponsored this week's policy summit....

John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants said although record labels are fun to bash, they help filter music. Now consumers must do much of that work themselves.

'It's ironic that we'll miss the majors when they are gone,' Flansburgh said....

'If we don't address the quality and character of music, people will continue to steal it because they don't want to buy it,' said music attorney Londell McMillan....

Others, however, said sanctioned downloading and burning is on the rise, suggesting the Internet could more than make up the gap created by closed retail outlets.

Already, offers song downloads for 99 cents each -- the lowest price the labels will allow.

'It should be 50 cents, if not 25 cents, per burn,' said Tim Quirk,'s director of editorial/music programming, noting that internal surveys suggest sales would increase 400 percent at those levels. 'Within the next year, you're going to see these prices come down.' " [Wired News]

Emphasis above is mine.

I'm posting this article because 1) I'll link to anything that quotes a TMBG John, and 2) the last paragraph of the article is what I consider to be the lead. I'm a big part of that potential 400 percent market that's waiting to be served. I want to pay for downloads of my choice that I can use however I see fit for personal use. If you're going to refuse to give that to me, then stop your whining.

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More RSS Goodness!

You can now subscribe to Technology News from eWEEK and Ziff Davis (RSS feed) and Fresh Reviews from PC Magazine (RSS feed) in your aggregator of choice. [via NewsIsFree: Recent Additions]

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Instapundit Unmasked!

Instapundit is featured in today's Tempo section of the Chicago Tribune in a story about blogging (free registration required). Mr. Reynolds noted this earlier today, but I don't think he's seen the actual print version!

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The Downside of Technology

Brian pointed me to today's Cathy comic strip and said it reminded him of me. I think that's a good thing....

picture of a guy saying he couldn't transfer data to his PDA after four hours of trying

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Further Pessimism Regarding Library Budgets

Imbalance of Payments

"One of the delights of life here in the Maryland suburbs is our local public library. It is a small outlying branch of the Montgomery County system. But it is in a bright modern building with a good stock and an excellent interloan system, plus knowledgeable and helpful staff who are even known (and this is unusual among American officials), when faced with a conflict between the rules and common sense, to opt for common sense....

This wonder of the world is in jeopardy, along with a great deal else that was a product of the 1990s, when the United States achieved once unimaginable prosperity and did (to some extent) manage to harness its private affluence to relieve public squalor. As a country, the US may not yet have gone broke, but the states themselves are on the brink. The latest figures suggest the 50 states are facing a collective budget deficit for the next financial year of at least $60bn, which, by an amazing coincidence, is precisely the same as the latest, very conservative, estimate of the cost of an Iraq war, as projected by White House officials....

The first consequences were seen in the November mid-term elections.... The winners, however, now have to drink from poisoned chalices. Many of them won by promising not to raise taxes. The alternative is going to affect far more than libraries. The biggest items of state expenditure are health and education, which are what politicians call 'third-rail' options: touch them and you are instantly electrocuted. But there are no other options, not serious ones....

Normally around now, several Democratic governors would be contemplating challenging Bush. This time there is only one: Howard Dean of Vermont, which, coincidentally or not, is the one state that does not demand a balanced budget. All the other announced and probable challengers, unusually, are Washington insiders. One of them might have the courage to mention that the US cannot actually have it all: a stagnant economy, tax cuts, wars of imperial conquest - and certainly not great public libraries. But we can guess which is going to get the heave-ho first." [The Guardian, thanks to Lance for the pointer!]

You can help - contact your legislators, let them know libraries are important, and vote yes for library referendums. There is no better bargain than your local library.

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More News on the eBook Front

Call for Participants: eBooks on Demand Pilot Project

"netLibrary is looking for libraries to participate in a pilot project to test alternative eBook models. Together with Taylor & Francis and Digital Publishing Solutions, netLibrary has developed 'eBooks on Demand,' an experimental site that offers quality Taylor & Francis content under alternative scenarios for a period of six months. Patrons may browse this content free of charge for a short period of time. If a patron wishes to continue accessing an eBook, they may choose to purchase, rent, print or copy portions of the content for a fee.

Traditionally, libraries purchase individual titles from netLibrary. The library then provides their patrons access to their eBook collection, free of charge. This model will continue, but, in addition, and at libraries’ request, netLibrary is interested in exploring alternative eBook models, including allowing patrons to purchase individual access to content, through their library site, or to have access for extended periods of time, such as a school semester.

This pilot affords netLibrary and the library community with an opportunity to explore the potential for addressing different patrons' needs. For example, patrons may desire to access titles their library has not purchased and to use them in different ways. They may want to access a title for longer than their library check out period allows or have access to a particular title for several months. netLibrary is looking to the future and possible methods for libraries to provide patrons access to eBooks in new and different ways. The eBooks on Demand Pilot Project was developed to begin the process of exploring those options, and to be able to do so with high quality content and a collection of more than 1200 titles from one of the world’s leading publishers.

Taylor & Francis is best known for scientific and reference titles. They specialize in the areas of ergonomics, geographical information systems, biotechnology, and engineering. Other members of the Taylor & Francis group include Routledge, known for academic humanities and social sciences content; and Psychology Press, a leading psychology and behavioral sciences publisher. The pilot project collection includes titles in these subject areas as well as Economics, Business, Language and Literature.

When a patron accesses a Taylor & Francis title through this pilot project they may browse the eBook for a short period of time. At the end of the browsing period, the patron will be presented with several options to continue accessing the title. The patron may purchase the title, rent the title for a pre-determined period, or print/copy portions of the eBook for individual use. The patron pays for access using their personal credit card.

netLibrary is looking for 10 – 12 libraries, of varying types and sizes to participate in the eBooks on Demand pilot project. For a contribution of only $1000, a library can provide their patrons access to 1200 Taylor & Francis titles for six months starting in January 2003. After the pilot project ends, the library will receive a $1000 credit towards their next eBook purchase. Promotional materials, including link logos, a pilot program fact sheet, and FAQs will be provided by netLibrary to pilot project libraries. In return, libraries will provide links to the pilot project from their website and will complete surveys to assist in evaluating the project. If your library is interested in participating, please complete the short survey. netLibrary will contact all inquirers regarding their involvement in the pilot project in early January. This pilot project is fully separate and distinct from your existing netLibrary collection. Patrons will continue to access your existing collection as they do today" [via The ResourceShelf]

I'm going to ask if we can sign up SWAN!

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