The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Wednesday, May 21, 2003

This Is Just Too Cool - I Want One!

Escher-like Fountain Appears to Defy Gravity

"Award winning water fountain appears to run uphill, actually an optical illusion." [Boing Boing Blog]

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WebMonkey Explains RSS

Bryan Bell catches a good article at WebMonkey that explains Sharing Your Site with RSS. Especially timely for WEB4LIB-ers and those folks using the Voidstar RSSify tool.

"Well, all the "cool kids" are doing it Bloggers and technophiles, by and large, have been the main publishers and consumers of RSS for the past few years. These crafty folk are often the vanguard of larger Internet trends even if they are a small slice of the Web demographic as a whole.

You may be asking yourself, if it's only the cool kids who are into this whole RSS scene, should I bother with downloading an RSS newsreader? The answer is simple: Absolutely! For starters, try something like NetNewsWire for the Mac or AmphetaDesk for Windows, Mac, or Linux. Give RSS a spin for a few days and you'll be hooked....

In this introductory tutorial, we will build a sample RSS file in the widely-supported 0.91 format. While the 0.91 format is admittedly cruder than some newer versions, it's super-easy to understand and it gets the job done." [via Scripting News]

The Utah State Library Division's RSS tutorial gets a mention under the heading "surprise entry!" I l-o-v-e when we surprise people and exceed their expectations! Way to go, Ray et. al.!

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Why Wi-Fi Can't Fly (but Will...One Day)

"A couple of years ago, Intel researchers turned a grounded airliner into a temporary lab. They flooded the plane with Bluetooth-band frequencies, using power levels many times those of a typical wireless device. They set up transmitters in the plane's radio bay. The outcome? 'We were not able to cause any malfunctions or anomalies in the aircraft we tested,' said Jeffrey Schiffer, the Intel labs co-director who's also the company point man for wireless regulation.

Since then, Europe's Airbus Industries has certified its A340-600 body types as Wi-Fi safe. Boeing has conducted several successful tests of its new in-flight network service--called Connexion--which also provides Wi-Fi connectivity. In April, the company completed a three-month test on 140 Lufthansa flights between Frankfurt and Washington D.C.; it now has a similar trial underway on a British Airways 747-400 flying between London and New York.

Based on those tests, Boeing officials believe Wi-Fi is perfectly safe. With that in mind, how long do you think the RTCA subcommittee will take to issue its first recommendations--which should, presumably, let us turn on our Wi-Fi devices in-flight?

Larry Bessette, the FAA manager in charge of the agency's avionics standards group, 'ball parks' the process at two years plus.....

So the aviation industry's better-safe-than-sorry approach is well taken. Commercial airlines carry precious cargo. Still, I'd encourage the RTCA committee to proceed as fast as prudently possible. I think it can issue its recommendations in far less than two years, without undue risk." [ZDNet Anchordesk]

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Examples of RSS Headlines on Library Sites

There's another RSS discussion brewing on the WEB4LIB list today, and coming out of it are some good examples of libraries using it to display headlines on their pages!

Who knew! Great job to everyone involved, and I hope we'll see RSS make further inroads in library sites.

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Clueless International Music Industry

Music Industry Goes on Offensive to Push Downloads

"The music industry on Wednesday launched a new Web site aimed at informing consumers where to look on the Internet to buy music downloads, its latest effort to win over fans from free file-sharing networks.

The Web site,, was designed by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), a global trade group representing major and independent music labels and publishers.

The site carries technical tips on industry-backed download services, such as Pressplay and MusicNet. It also contains pleas from artists like Russian singing duo t.a.T.u asking fans to pay for music downloads rather than go to free file-sharing networks where countless tracks are swapped each day." [Reuters, via Digital Copyright Digest]

Snapshot of how the page looked when I visited, submitted without comment.

picture of the headline with a photo of an al qaeda deputy next to it

I particularly like their disinformation campaign of "factoids" on the right-hand side, including the claim that "using a peer-to-peer service can give anyone using the same service access to files on your computer." Um, duh. The FAQ is good for a few laughs, while "music journalist Juliana Koranteng's review" of online music services is good for a few more.

Personally, I'll be testing out tonight, where they're currently offering "all you can download in 8 hours" for $3.99. Odd that they're not listed on the Pro-Music site... ha! More on PureTunes - I assume we'll be attacking Spain next because they have WMD (Weapons of Mass Distribution).

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Advice for Tim Duncan

The Art of the Free Throw

"Despite blowing their first free throw, the Dallas Mavericks pulled off an amazing win Monday night against the San Antonio Spurs by managing to make their next 49 shots. Host Robert Siegel talks with Dr. Tom Amberry, who holds the title of World's Greatest Free-Throw Shooter and is author of Free Throw: 7 Steps to Success at the Free Throw Line. The book was written with Philip Reed and is published by Harper Perennial."

My answer to everything used to be 42. Now it's 2750.

Note: you'll have to scroll down to the bottom because NPR makes permalinks extremely difficult. When, oh when, will they learn?

And for the curious, no, I didn't ask their permission to link to this.

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LLRX: It's Alive!

One of the great things about reading sites through an RSS news aggregator is that they can go on hiatus and pleasantly surprise you when they reappear out of thin air. When I saw Sabrina Pacifici a couple of months ago, I was sure LLRX was six feet under. Turns out I was wrong. Hooray!

If you're looking for the RSS feed, it's here.

Pssst... hey, Bruce - check out their article Web Logs for Lawyers: Lessons from Ernie the Attorney.

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Hey, Your Blog Is In My Wiki! No, Your Wiki Is In My Blog!, a New Blog-wiki Service for Collaborative Content Management

"Got notified by e-mail today from a staff member at about their new free blog-wiki (hence, "bloki") authoring-hosting service. You'll find my home page at (not much there) and the blog part of my site at Individuals can collaborate on both the blog and the main site pages. The blog includes an RSS feed. The browser-based editor is derived from htmlarea, and features a Microsoft Word-like interface, very similar in fact to the editor used by the WebCrimson service. is powered by (and no, they didn't pay me to promote their product)." [The Ten Thousand Year Blog]

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