The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Cell Phone Jukebox

Downloads on the Move in Europe

"The ability to download complete tracks directly over cell-phone networks to mobile phones is becoming a reality in Europe. O2 Music, the music arm of U.K.-based international telecom operator mmO2, has started offering songs for download in Germany and the United Kingdom....

Since Aug. 1, U.K. owners of the new SX1 phones subscribing to O2 Music's Active Music Download service can buy songs from a repertoire of 100,000 titles. They can search, sample free 30-second clips, store and play paid-for full tracks downloaded over O2's network straight to the handset. The songs are protected and securely transmitted over the O2 network with digital-rights management technology from Basel-based Secure Digital Container in Switzerland.

The price of tracks ranges between $1 and $3. The handset, which can store up to 120 tracks of music, costs 80 pounds in the United Kingdom and 150 euros ($183.50) in Germany. SX1 users are charged for their downloads on their monthly mobile-phone bills....

By year's end, Bornhausser expects that Europe will have up to 12 different mobile phones -- from Siemens, Sony-Ericsson and Samsung -- that include pre-installed digital players and SDC's DRM software.

The high-speed 3G networks will also make wireless downloading easier. In Western Europe, Vodafone, 3, TIM and T-Mobile will be operating 3G services by the end of this year. As the United Kingdom's first 3G network, 3 began selling downloadable music videos July 30 from BMG U.K. & Ireland for 1.50 pounds each to compatible handsets." [Wired News]

Wow, I can't wait for this to hit the U.S., although I'm sure our implementation will be screwed up with DRM and we won't be able to use those songs on any other device. Still, the implications for mobile entertainment through the cell phone in an always-on, ubiquitous high-speed internet environment has implications for libraries.

In a couple of years when Kailee and Brent get cell phones, they will most likely have this functionality. What do you think they will expect to be able to download from their library? What do you think the library will be able to offer? Do you think the library is even thinking about this kind of service for the future?

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Segway Home Chicago

Segway Retailers Zip into Area

"The first Segway Human Transporter stores are scheduled to open this weekend in Chicago and LaGrange. The pair will be the only Segway stores in the state and two of just 35 dealerships in the country.....

...The new shops will let consumers practice on the models so they can check them out before buying one." [Chicago Sun-Times]

LaGrange is the next suburb over from where I work, so you know what we'll be doing during lunch one day next week! I'll definitely be moblogging that one. :-)

11:25:26 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

We the [Order the Book Already] Librarians

We the Librarians? (Go Buy Dan Gillmor's Book!)

"I'm seeing tremendous blogbuzz about 'We the Media,' Dan Gillmor's new book about the impact of blogging on journalism and news reporting. But I haven't seen any citations for this book (even a notation of 'purchased') in any of a half-dozen major library catalogs I checked." [Free Range Librarian]

I couldn't believe this when I read it, so I checked the SWAN catalog to see if any of my libraries have it, and THEY DON'T! Un-freaking-believable.

I'll note a disclaimer that Dan was kind enough to send me a copy of the book and I've only had a brief chance to skim a few pages, but even without this copy I would feel completely confident calling this an important book about 21st Century media. I know Aaron will order it when he's back in the office, but you other MLS libraries get your ordering-butts in gear. I hope to talk Tony into linking to the free versions on the web, much like we did for Larry Lessig's book, "Free Culture."

And on a side note, congratulations to the SWAN staff for a fairly smooth implementation of the new interface. Finally - FINALLY! - I can search our catalog from one screen, rather than having to choose to search (step one), choosing the type of search (step two), and entering a query into the box (step three). It's a very big improvement, plus they've added jacket covers and book reviews. The whole thing is just easier to read and use!

11:20:21 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

My Favorite Is the Gateway 2000 Ad

PC World, 1990

"Last night I spent some time reading an issue of PC World magazine from September, 1990....

Just a few of the many interesting things in this issue:

  • News: Lotus Sues Borland (I was actually hired as an expert witness in that case, but it never went to trial).
  • Microsoft Ad: $50 upgrade to Windows 3.0!
  • Ad for Gateway 2000: Fully loaded 25 Mhz 486, 4 Meg RAM, 150 Meg hard drive, VGA: $5,295.
  • Funk Software ad: Sideways, print your 1-2-3 spreadsheets sideways on your dot matrix printer (remember that?)
  • News item: Symantec/Norton Merger Refocuses Utility Wars.
  • Excel tip: Save a group of related files by using File - Save Workspace. This tip still works today!
  • Ad for GEnie (an online service). It cost $6.00 per hour at 1200 baud non-prime time.
  • Ad for Software Carousel, a task-switching environment for DOS. "Use the software you already own - 1-2-3, WordPerfect, dBASE, Sidekick." I used to love that program." [J-Walk Blog]
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Yet Another Plea for Full Text Feeds

Simple RSS Customizations

"The default Movable Type installation automatically publishes RSS feeds for your weblog. The most widely used template - RSS 1.0 Index - generates an RDF file, index.rdf. The default setting on this file produces a feed with the entry excerpt. Here are some simple changes you can make to your RSS 1.0 Index template to generate a full entry feed, to create an RSS feed for a specific category or to include comments with your feed...." [Learning Movable Type]

Okay, MT users - it just doesn't get any easier than this. Us RSS bigots would r-e-a-l-l-y appreciate a full text feed from you, so if you're not already providing one because you're not sure how to do it, be confused no more. Here are step-by-step directions, illustrations included.

Also note that you can save the template shown in this tutorial under a different name and provide two feeds, one with excerpts and one with full text. That way, your readers can decide which one works for them.

11:03:22 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

Radio-licious

If you're reading this, then Radio appears to be working again, heaven only knows why since we still don't know what was wrong with it in the first place. My hope is that it will keep working until the next version is available in two weeks (see the Radio Roadmap). I'm thrilled to see that Userland is finally doing something with this software. It's been very frustrating to have upstreaming and aggregator problems recur every few months, to the point where I had given up on it.

But here's the problem. I investigated alternative solutions, but when you're an RSS junkie like me, the integration of an aggregator into the blogging tool is much more efficient than anything else that's out there. I was shocked that I couldn't find any other product that duplicates this functionality so seamlessly. Sure, I could have tried to jerry-rig something, but I couldn't emulate the one-click-post-from-the-aggregator functionality that is the single best evolutionary feature of Radio. On its own, the aggregator is okay (miss a few days and those posts are gone forever, HTML in posts kills the whole page, no way to search past items, no Atom support yet), but as Marc Canter found out, that one little "Post" link is just too important to give up.

So Userland, I'm glad you're finally addressing the problems with Radio. If the new version doesn't mess with existing templates, I'd happily beta-test it. Let's get this show on the road!

10:52:40 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!