The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Tuesday, February 11, 2003

DVD Dealing

If you've been sitting on the sidelines of the DVD revolution and feeling left out, now's your big chance to join the team. Techbargains highlights the following deal:

"DVD Player $44

Price break. BestBuy.com has the CyberhomeDVD/CD/CD-R/RW/MP3 Player with Component Video Output Model: CH-DVD 402 for $54.99 - $10 rebate = $44.99 shipped free.

Hack it! Product Info Even plays Jpeg digital camera pictures on your tv. It is cheap, so don't expect too much.

This DVD player will play MP3's burnt onto DVD-R. (aka MP3-ROM) A DVD-R will hold a thousand songs- this DVD player is a Jukebox for your home entertainment center."

It's only a little more than the cost of a family of four going to the movies - once! Don't forget that many public libraries are now circulating DVDs.

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Last week, someone at my office received the infamous Kangaroo in Denmark trick, so I bet they'll enjoy The Flash Mind Reader, too. [via MetaFilter, requires the Flash plug-in]

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RSS-enclosed Song of the Week

"I've moved the MP3 of the week semi-feature from the main blog here over to the sidebar (under the current listening headline.) The advantage to this is that it now has its own RSS feed, which includes the song of the week as an RSS enclosure. If you're reading this and use a news aggregator that supports enclosures (from what I can tell, NetNewsWire doesn't), let me know if it works as it should." [Andrew Raff: Shameless Self Promotion]

Yes, with the right aggregator, you can indeed get new music in your daily news!

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Blog Party (emphasis below is mine)

screenshot of a GirlsWalker diary"It's the ultimate sign of cool: a wireless newsletter all about you. The hippest chicks in the East use Girls Walker (www.girlswalker.com) to send personal daily, weekly, or monthly updates to cell phones throughout Japan. More than 42,000 digests have been created, ranging from new ASCII art to blog-style diaries. Of the 20 million subscribers, 70 percent are females in their late teens to mid-twenties - a key demographic for stores, which have started using the service to blast out sale alerts.... For 17-year-old Ayaka Sasaki, who lives on a farm in northern Japan, 'Girls Walker gives me a heads up on what's popular in Tokyo, so I don't feel like such a hick.' " [Wired]

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More Info about the Upcoming Matrix Game

Hacking the Matrix

"The wait is over. After four long years, the highly anticipated videogame based on The Matrix franchise is about to hit store shelves for all platforms at once.

Bullet Time
Of course the game has it. Slow down the action and take out enemies with an arsenal of weapons (some modeled after actual next-gen gun prototypes) or in brute hand-to-hand combat. There's so much detail here that bullets even reflect the surroundings en route to their target.

Action
A typical game character's repertoire consists of 300 to 600 moves, most of which are animated by programmers. Here, playable stars Niobe and Ghost (sorry, you can't be Neo) can each bust more than 3,500 moves - all derived from the motion-cap sessions. So when Niobe is battling baddies, she kicks exactly like the real Pinkett Smith. This extensive library of maneuvers also means that the virtual vixen can sprint, jump, and shoot in just about any way possible - including handling a gun when running on a wall....

Zoom
To achieve the Hollywood feel, the Wachowskis insisted that wide shots seamlessly fade into close-ups with no loss of clarity. Shiny developed a real-time tessellation system that ups the standard battle-scene polygon count from, say, 400 when you're in the action to about 30,000 as you zoom in on a face or hand. The game automatically knows when to add and subtract details so that, to the player, the adventure always looks the same and runs at a speedy 60 frames per second - more than twice as fast and smooth as movie footage." [Wired]

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Clarifications on Edu-blogging

Pat provides more detail about his (and his colleague's efforts) to integrate blogging into education:

"eBN is not, repeat NOT a k-12 blogging collaborative. (I got into trouble once before with what Karen Mc, an eBN member and university prof with lots of k-12 experience, generously called my 'uni-phobia.') In fact, about 50% of eBN membership is now Uni level and its sponsoring organization (BAWP) is a very well respected, 30 year project of the University of California at Berkeley. eBN might have a bit more k-12 practioner experience and attitude present than other edu-blog initiatives, but that will probably even out as things go along."

When I wrote my original post, I was actually referring to Schoolblogs because it first hit my radar in 2001 and it was one of the original sites that piqued my interest in blogging. I am chagrined to admit that I haven't been able to keep up with the details of eBN, so my apologies to the university level education bloggers!

"J. also cautions: 'and dont' forget to collaborate with your librarians.'  Ow ouch whimper gulp - I'm way back in the 188 Dewey Decimal digital stacks now, recovering my hurt MLIS feelings in the Stoic section. Of course we'll remember librarians! Jenny and Peter Scott were my first two inspirations for blogging. And besides - eBN are them! The collaborative welcomes librarians (public and school), library patrons,  parents of students, community organizers, graduate students, university fellows and even Zen monk tech advisors to overworked and under-geeked teachers

Librarians, the custodians of the flagship of the commons, are positioned to make this edu-blogging collaboration a true community and communities initiative. Jenny and any other shifted, or shifting, or shifty librarians are encouraged to grab a badge and join us."

Well again I wasn't clear in my writing because that comment was definitely aimed more at newer projects like Harvard's. I could never aim such a comment at Pat given the wonderful partnerships he has built!

Unfortunately I'm over-committed at the moment, but I may well take Pat up on his offer in the future. I actually need to work within my own Library System first anyway, so I'm hoping that our new YS Coordinator will want to initiate something this year. However, if you're reading this and you're an academic, public, or school librarian, take note of the opportunities here and consider joining yourself!

To continue your own edu-blogging education, check out "Writing with Web Logs" by Kristen Kennedy in the February 2003 issue of Technology & Learning [via Chi Lib Rocks!].

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Tivo Allows Transfer of Lifetime Subscriptions

TiVo Lets Subscribers Plug into New Gear

"TiVo is allowing current lifetime subscribers to transfer their memberships to new recorders when they purchase a Series2 set-top box with 80 hours of storage capacity.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company sells monthly and lifetime service subscriptions to its digital video recording service, which allows customers to pause live shows and choose which ones to record using an interactive programming guide. The lifetime subscription refers to the life of a recorder.

The company officially kicked off the promotion Tuesday, according to TiVo spokeswoman Rebecca Baer. Customers must purchase their 80-hour Series2 boxes directly from TiVo for $349 after a $50 mail-in rebate. The promotion ends March 10....

DirecTV receivers with TiVo service are not eligible for the promotion. Recorders that are eligible include Philips HDR112, HDR212, HDR312, HDR612 and Sony SVR2000.

TiVo will also make its Home Media Option available in the spring for $99. The new service will allow subscribers to remotely schedule the recording of shows over the Internet. Subscribers will be able to play music and videos as well as view photos from devices connected to the network.

The new service lets subscribers with more than one recorder share content on both recorders. For example, a show seen on a recorder in the living room can also be played on a recorder in a bedroom. Consumers will be able to download the Home Media Option to Series2 recorders." [CNET News.com]

Very smart. If they keep the hack that lets you add back in the 30-second skip button on the remote, I might finally consider buying a Tivo instead of a ReplayTV next time.

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It's Like Repeatedly Pressing the Elevator Button Over and Over....

"Fido, Spot or Rover are mere nicknames for show dogs. This site explains the long show dog names, most popular names, and CNN's Jeanne Moos reports." [MetaFilter]

Aarrgghh!! I love Jeanne Moos' reports on CNN. Always have, always will. So when I saw this post about a piece she did on the Westminster Kennel Club Show... well, it's a must-click, even if the date on the piece is 2000.

I followed the link to the CNN site and chose the 80k video version. I sat back to listen to Jeanne's witty observations, but instead I got stuck watching a commercial for Crossfire, and I can't fast-forward through it. Okay, fine, gotta make a buck - on with the show.

But no. There's another commercial, this time for a movie critics show. Mumbling under my breath, but okay, fine, get on with it already. I wait for Jeanne to appear, and I wait, and I wait, and I wait. Nothing's happening. I notice that the timeline bar is just sitting there, all by itself on the right-hand side. The stop button is depressed, so I think to myself, "Maybe I just have to hit the play button now." Manual labor.

So I press play, and I'm taken back to the beginning to watch the Crossfire ad again. Oy. I still can't fast-forward. "I already sawwwwww this." Naturally, the second commercial starts auto-playing as it should, and I can't fast-forward through it, either. But it ends, and nothing happens. Again. I've left that window open for ten minutes and nothing has happened.

Jamie Kellner, we're even.

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A New Measurement Unit: "DCI Time"

I haven't seen this in a long time. Today I unsubscribed from a DCI mailing list. It had appropriate instructions at the bottom and the process was very easy. However, here's the message that appeared on my screen when I clicked on the submit button:

"Thank you for your submission. Please allow 1 week to process email and 12 weeks for regular mail, as mailings may already be in progress at the time of your request."

One week to process an email unsubscribe request????? What's the extreme opposite of "internet time?"

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Your Life on Disk

picture of the Lacie hard driveJohn Robb wants his information to shift with him, and I don't blame him. I do, too, which is why I was floored to see the LaCie Big Disk 500GB portable hard drive referenced on the Dreamweaver Talk mailing list. The dimensions are just a tad too large for true shirt-pocket or in-jacket portability (6.7x1.7x10.6 and 5.51 lbs.), but I'm amazed that a 500GB drive is already this small. And the price? $949. That's less than $2 PER GIGABYTE.

This trend certainly has implications for cyborglogging!

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Forget Moblogging - Try Cyborglogging!

Cyborg Logs and Collective Stream of (De)Consciousness Capture for Producing Attribution-free Informatic Content Such as Cyborglogs by Steve Mann

"Various forms of apparatus for a new kind of wiki or blog (weblog) are described. In particular, ways of bringing together a collective deconsciousness are presented. The systems works with CyborgLogs (cyborglogs or "glogs") from a community of portable computer users, or it can also be used with a mixture of portable (handheld or wearable), mobile (automotive, boat, van, or utility vehicle), or base-station (home, office, public space, etc.) systems. The system enables a community to exist without conscious thought or effort on the part of the individual participants. Because of the participants' ability to constantly experience the world through the apparatus, the apparatus can behave as a true extension of the participants' mind and body, giving rise to a new kind of collective experience. In other embodiments, the system may operate without the need for participants to bear any kind of technological prosthesis....

This article pertains to a collaborative communications system that may have components installed on or within a user's body (portable), on or in a vehicle (mobile), or on or in an environment (building or fixed structure) where users may exist." [First Monday]

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Other big news today includes the unveiling of Dave Winer's latest venture: Weblogs at Harvard. Color me fascinated - I'll definitely be tracking this one. And with Donna Wentworth as Managing Editor, this will be a wonderful proof-of-concept.

Of course, that's for blogging in higher education. Pat Delaney, Will Richardson, David Carter-Tod, and a red carpet line of others are cornering the market on blogging in K-12 blogging.

Keep up the great work, everyone, and dont' forget to collaborate with your librarians!

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