The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Wednesday, September 24, 2003


Thinking Outside the MUD: Ludicorp CEO Stewart Butterfield on the Game Neverending

"MS: If Ludicorp were forced at gunpoint to make an action shooter for the Xbox-or-something, and money were no object, what would you make?

SB: ...Library Bookbomber! - Set in the Library of Babel, you play Borges the nearly-blind Librarian battling a non-denumerable infinity of foreign-speaking janitors while hopping from low-ceilinged hexagonal room to low-ceilinged hexagonal room. Drop books on them, throw books at them: do anything you can do prevent them from kicking you out and bringing on the cataclysmic 'closing time'." [Mindjack, thanks Steven!]

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Virtual Booktalking!

Kids Booktalking on the Web

"The Texas Bluebonnet Award Committee, part of the Texas Library Association, has partnered with Sagebrush to produce streaming videos of kids talking about the books on the Texas Bluebonnet Award list.

Much like the Rebecca Caudill Award in Illinois, the Texas Bluebonnet Award is a readers' preference award, in which children in grades three through six choose their favorite book from a master list. The award is co-sponsored by the Children's Round Table and the Texas Association of School Librarians, two units within the Texas Library Association." [The Wide Window]

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New Way to Hear New Music

Interview with iRATE Radio Creator

"So many bands, so little time. How does one learn about new bands these days? Here's an interview with Anthony Jones, lead developer for iRATE radio , an open source radio/mp3 scraper application that drops legal MP3's onto your computer. It's less of a file sharing program than a music discovery program....

It is called 'iRATE Radio'; it is a kind of mp3 scraping program that downloads mp3's continuously onto your hard drive and plays them for you like a radio station. As you rate the tracks, the program uses collaborative filtering to feed you additional mp3's to suit your tastes. This java-based client is available on Linux, Windows, and Mac platforms. iRATE Radio doesn't actually feed MP3s to the client but feeds URL's which the client will then download. The program is still a work in progress; its file manager and configuration options are rudimentary at best, the player doesn't even have a time counter, and there are bugs to work out. But the radio application does one thing extremely well: it maintains a steady flow of LEGAL mp3's and exposes the user to hundreds (if not thousands) of songs that one would never hear about in Rolling Stone or on MTV or When I first tried, it, most of the songs I listened to were awful, but once I started rating more songs, the programs deleted songs with low ratings and eventually delivered a higher ratio of good songs (or at least songs that match my taste more accurately." []

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Claim Your Cell Phone Number!

Fight for Your Cell Phone Rights NOW

"One of the things users hate most about cellular service is that the telephone number belongs to the carrier, not to the customer. This means that changing carriers also means changing your phone number.

That's supposed to change on Nov. 24, when new rules requiring number portability are supposed to go into effect. I say "supposed to" because many carriers are dragging their corporate feet and lobbying to get the rule changed, even as they collect hundreds of millions of dollars in "portability fees" from customers.

The Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, is among the groups working to keep number portability on-track. The group says number portability will increase competition, resulting in lower cellular bills and greater convenience for consumers.

CU has set up a special Web site,, where you can learn about what you can do. Yesterday, the group sent out an action alert asking consumers to (once again, for some of us) write Congress to keep the heat on as the cellular industry throws its considerable lobbying weight into fighting the rule. You can write your Congressperson (for free) and learn more about this important issue by visiting the site." [ZDNet AnchorDesk]

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