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Showing posts from 2013

[Book Review] Book Lovers

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Book Lovers : Stories / Shawna Kenney (ed) (Powell's Books)

Book Lovers is perhaps the most literal example of literary erotica I have encountered.  The word and the book really are the thing.

The stories run a gambit of styles and explorations of the erotic.   Sensual, stark, sweet, sorrowful, intimate, lonely, unexpected.  The only connecting thread between these stories are stories themselves.  The books themselves that create the bridge into sexuality.  While labeled erotica the stories do not delve equally into the carnal, some brushing lightly and others embrace it fully.

Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of Netgalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.

Link Smorgasbord, December 23 - 29

Six Libraries Exceed a Million Digital Checkouts This Year: OverDrive
One of the things that's been driving me the crazy about not being at a library this time of year is that I'm really useful with all the patrons coming in with their new devices.

How US Internet service might get better—and worse—in 2014
Some predictions based on trends and activities going on.  I'm a bit worried about some of the net neutrality stuff.

As New Services Track Habits, the E-Books Are Reading You
E-Books "reading us" isn't exactly new.  It's one of the (many) issues I have with Kindle.  However it is part of a trend that I'm not a fan of.

British government porn filters block tech sites
*headdesk*

[Book Review] The Professional; Part 1

The Professional; Part 1 / Kresley Cole

Our premise is that Natalie is lovely, smart, seriously hardworking, and a bit disdainful of men.  She juggles three part time jobs while working on a  PhD (so not just disdainful of men, no time for them either).  She also has been searching for her biological father, wanting to know more about her birth family.  Then on a night at the bar while entertaining her lady friends by "manlyzing" the patrons she meets a man she doesn't have an almost instant scathing analysis of (though part of this might have something to do with maturity level in what seems to be a college bar).

Sevastyan is a serious bad-ass (and of course, gorgeous), like Vinnie Jones only blindingly gorgeous (sorry Vinnie).  He is sure of himself, not a drunken frat boy, and all around gives off "amazing fuck" vibes.  He is definitely interested in Natalie, but something about it makes him angry.  As we soon find out he is (among other things) her father&#…

Link Smorgasbord, December 15 - 22

Design flyers to spread the word online
A neat site to create fliers with, I discovered it when someone shared their DIY Cataloging flier. Could be a fun tool to use in the future.

Ron Miller: DRM has always been a horrible idea
Obviously, I'm not a big fan of DRM.  Decent article, though I've noticed a trend to ignore reasons that companies would want DRM, such as deliberately restricting access to their approved channels (and as annoying as it is, sometimes they want that).

Morton Grove Library trustees rejects atheist blogger's donation
From what I can tell this was $3000 with no strings attached, and being an atheist in no way makes someone part of a "hate group."  I've gone through his blog a bit, and it largely seems to be "don't be a jerk" with slightly more focus on churches that have been jerks, but he calls out atheists as well.  Looking more into it, it seems the donator in question regularly raises money for causes, including to help …

Link Smorgasbord, December 9 - 15

16 Fantastic Gifts For Lit Lovers Who Have Enough Books
Some cute ideas here, but nothing for me in the overwhelming "I want that."  Except for #16, that's really spot on.

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year: “Science”
I like basing their choice on the queries people were making.

Twitter gobbles up more cookies with retargeted ads, says users have privacy choices
Well, I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  Still makes me go "ick."  I have enough trouble with Twitter because of the amount of retweets and targeted tweets at people I'm following that I have utterly no interest in.  Pretty much the only thing I use my account for is the meta-experience it provides when attending online conferences and seminars.

"For users who bristle at the thought of another Internet company tracking them, Twitter offered a few options. Users can uncheck the box next to "promoted content" in their privacy settings and Twitter will not match their account to inf…

#militantlibrarian

Once again the hilarity arises of someone labeling librarians as militant.  Not only that, they seem to again use the label as if its a bad thing.  I recently came across a discussion comparing being a librarian to having a religion; many of us in the field tend to be very passionate about what we do and the causes we champion.  Maybe this is what happens when you have a profession largely made of highly educated people in less than highly paid positions, we're not in the field for the money.


#militantlibrarian is always a compliment. Especially when it isn't meant as one.
— LibrarianShipwreck (@libshipwreck) December 11, 2013Thank you, LibrarianShipwreck for putting it perfectly.

So why the hell am I even talking about this today?  Why is anyone?  And who is Richard Russo?

It started with a letter (or see the PDF) written by Richard Russo on beseeching authors to join the Authors Guild to fight to protect the author way of life.  In the letter he writes about the evil machina…

Link Smorgasbord, December 2 - 8

After Snowden, we're self-censoring and we don't care
I do really care, and the fact that this article is over all pretty spot on is just more frustrating. 

Heavy metal shows piracy is not killing music, offers new business model
This isn't the first article along these lines I've encountered, in fact, I come across articles about piracy helping music sales quite often.  This one just happens to feature a band I really like.  :D

Data Portraits: Connecting People of Opposing Views
A paper on popping the filter bubble and exposing people to differing points of view.  "The motivation behind our research is: can we take advantage of user engagement with recommendations to indirectly promote connection to people of opposing views?"  I find this a really interesting topic and the full text is available.

Copyright Takedown Requests to Google Have Doubled Since Last Year
That's a lot of take down requests we're talking about.

The gentle art of cracking password…

Link Smorgasbord, November 25 - December 1

Goldieblox and the Three MCs
Probably the best write up I've seen so far on the Goldiebox/Beastie Boys issue, in particular addressing some of the rumors surrounding the issue.  TL;DR - copyright law is a bloody mess and the determination of "fair use" is not cut and dried.

NSA Planned To Discredit Radicals Based On Web-Browsing Habits
Because in this day and age not being hetero-normative still can be held against you, or, as was proven earlier this year, searching for a backpack and a pressure cooker.

Creative Commons Launches Version 4.0 of Its Licenses
Cool stuff for those who are intersted.
http://creativecommons.org/

Library to Hold Black Friday Sale
I totally love this idea and it is likely we will be doing something like this next year at my library.  I'd love to be busier at the library on the day after Thanksgiving; usually it is so slow that I wonder why I didn't use a vacation day.  I also strongly feel that my library could benefit from more community p…

Link Smorgasbord, November 18 - 24

DIY Star Wars Snowflakes
Gorgeous and intricate Star Wars themed snow flakes.  I'm trying to convince the youth services librarians that they would make for a great craft.

24 Tickets Every IT Person Is Sick Of Getting
ALL OF THIS.  Much giggling was inspired by this collection, perhaps it leans towards hyperbole and snark, but it is also pretty spot on.

"Douglas County Model" gives libraries new e-book leverage
I've mentioned the Douglas County ebook platform/model before, as well as Jamie LaRue.  This article gives a pretty good idea of what libraries are looking into on their own since we cannot get what we were looking for from publishers, and how what we are looking to do is expanding because we had to strike out on our own.

The Absence Of Serendipity, Or, Why I Hate Shopping At Amazon
The concepts here go beyond just shopping at Amazon.  This is why I turn off as much personalization as I possibly can on just about any service I use.  I don't want just the new…

Shoes, a Simile for Employment

A new job is a lot like a new pair of shoes.

It may be worth noting right now that I abhor shoe shopping and have difficulty finding shoes that fit well.  This may color how I view the process.

It doesn't matter how careful you are, the shoes never fit quite like they did in the store once you've purchased them and brought them home.  You have to wear them around, get used to how they feel.  Discover how they pinch or rub, let the leather stretch and mold.  Sometimes they are almost immediately a disaster, and if you have my luck, you end up never wanting to go to a business again after the owner accuses you of cutting in front of other customers and screaming when all you did was wait off to the side until they walked over to give you a chance to talk quietly to see if the shoes could be returned (but I digress).  Other times you have to decided if the pinches and rubs are bearable until the shoe breaks in and hope that fixes the problem, or if you need to get a different pai…

Link Smorgasbord, November 11 - 17

Why “Magic: The Gathering” Matters
On how Magic: The Gathering (and by extension other games) is more than an amusing diversion for the socially maladjusted.  Rather, MtG helps develop critical thinking, imagination, vocabulary, social skills, and more.

Amazon e-book offer riles independent bookshop owners
So what seemed to be a prank to many booksellers when initially contacted turns out to be an actual program by Amazon.  Amazon is trying to reach out to independent booksellers asking them to sell Kindles, similar to the partnerships between some indie bookshops and Kobo.  Booksellers seem generally less than amused by the program so far.

Google Books ruling is a huge victory for online innovation 
I'm torn between utter shock that this was ruled in favor of the scanning project, and not surprise since we know how much money Google has to throw at the project.  Check out the summary judgement for full details.

Some more on the ruling from other bloggers:
A win for Google? Yes. A w…

[Book Review] The Other Boleyn Girl

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The Other Boleyn Girl / Phillipa Gregory

"Two sisters competing for the greatest prize: the love of a king.

When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family's ambitious plots as the king's interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Then Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king, and take her fate into her own hands.

A rich and compelling tale of love, sex, ambition, and intrigue, The Other Boleyn Girl introduces a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the heart of the most exciting and glamorous court in Europe and survived by following her own heart." THANK GOD THIS BOOK IS DONE.

I read this for a book club pick. I would not have likel…

Statewide eBook Pilot

Late August of last year I received a rather exciting email:
Congratulations!  You have been identified by your librarian peers as having what it takes to be one of our five “Alphas,”  for our upcoming statewide e-book project trial. The MBLC sponsored, Resource Sharing Committee is excited about this undertaking.  The scope of the project is listed below:

SCOPE:

The goal of the Massachusetts e-books. proof of concept is to identify, implement, and test a solution for providing e-book borrowing to users throughout the Commonwealth via a single user-friendly discovery platform offering a broad selection of titles.  This solution will also have the goal of connecting users directly with authors, booksellers, and publishers.  The results of the proof of concept will be evaluated to determine its feasibility as a long-term statewide solution.

The first phase of the proof of concept will include fifty libraries of various types and sizes – twenty-five public, ten academic, ten s…

Link Smorgasbord, November 4 - 10

A Manifesto for the Truth
It should be obvious by now that I'm for privacy.

We’re About to Lose Net Neutrality — And the Internet as We Know It
FFS.  I know these efforts are anything but new, but I also have a huge problem understanding how anyone but ISPs think this is a good idea.

An exclusive interview with Bill Gates
I've got some respect for this man.  "Bill Gates describes himself as a technocrat. But he does not believe that technology will save the world. Or, to be more precise, he does not believe it can solve a tangle of entrenched and interrelated problems that afflict humanity's most vulnerable: the spread of diseases in the developing world and the poverty, lack of opportunity and despair they engender. "I certainly love the IT thing," he says. "But when we want to improve lives, you've got to deal with more basic things like child survival, child nutrition.""

Battle of Orland Park library’s Internet porn policy heats …

[Book Review] Vintage Beer

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Vintage Beer : A Taster's Guide to Brews that Improve over Time / Patrick Dawson
A great book for lovers of quality beer and its complexities.  The book also provided some very good and easily digestible information on evaluating and defining beer flavors and composition.
As someone who brews and who enjoys craft beer I found this book interesting.  It does change how I think about some things.  I never thought to deeply about aging beer or its freshness.  Generally 'aged' beers are marked as a feature of specialty craft beers, regardless of if they actually taste good.  Cheap beer I'm generally not buying for it's taste.  Now I understand a bit more why sometimes 'aged' is not always better.  This is a nice addition to my knowledge base.

[Book Review] Deep in Crimson

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Deep in Crimson / Sarah Gilman
Book two inthe Sanctuary series.  I still think some of the base components of the seeing are cool, and the first book was cute in a simple romance novel way.
This book had a bit to much of tortured past and anguished true love.  I'm not big on that.  I feel like these were used as crutches in place of actually developing plot our characters.  That being said, this is often a failing in romance novels, and the author refrained from using utterly ridiculous descriptors.  So on that basis the novel is an enjoyable action romance, it just wasn't for me.

[Book Review] Oryx and Crake

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Oryx and Crake / Margaret Atwood



I was asked while mid novel to describe what this book is about.  Now that I'm finished there still isn't really a good way to describe this book.

Atwood doesn't write simple novels. If this was a simple novel I would say it is about the folly and greed of man bringing about humankind's downfall.  Or maybe I would say it was about the fallout of a zealot's hubris.  Oryx and Crake could be a love story, could be about an I am Legend struggle to retain humanity, a debate over what makes us human, an environmentalist metaphor, all of these in one, or something else altogether.

Our narrator, Snowman/Jimmy, is not particularly special or even likeable.  Born into the corporate cultivated intellectual middle class, raised amid genetic tinkering and tampering, he largely meanders along through life with little actual effort or achievement.  Jimmy's biggest distinguishing feature is his friendship with Oryx, possibly the only person w…

Link Smorgasbord, October 28 - November 3

UVU professor plans first deaf culture digital library
Awesome project, I really hope it prospers.

Goodbye Sticky. Hello Ara.
This is pretty awesome.  I already was into Phonebloks, and it looks like Motorola (*cough*Google*cough*) is teaming up with Phonebloks to make this happen on a large scale.  I'm very intrigued.

Apple Blocks Lawrence Lessig's Comment On iOS 7 Wi-Fi Glitch
The story is more than just Lawrence Lessig vs. Apple, it just happens to focus on Lessig.

Announcing the Web Literacy Standard (specification)
Mozilla has this great resource, webmaker.org, which has tools for teaching, learning, and general web development skills.  They've gone a little bit further and started developing outlined skills sets that are key to web literacy:

"The Web Literacy Standard is a map of competencies and skills that Mozilla and our community of stakeholders believe are important to pay attention to when getting better at reading, writing and participating on the web.&q…

Link Smorgasbord, October 21 - 27

Google Sparking Interest To Quantum Mechanics With Minecraft
Kinda neat.

Full Screen Mario: Making the Case For Shorter Copyrights
TL;DR - there are some really fantastic things people do just because it is something they love, and that copyright term creates some huge hurdles.  That being said, some people also do things because they want to capitalize on an opportunity.

Call Yourself A Hacker, Lose Your 4th Amendment Rights
Now, I don't call myself a hacker, but that is only because I don't consider myself skilled enough.  That being said I've definitely done things that can be considered 'hacking'.  Hacking isn't just breaking into a secret database.  It's about seeing something and wondering how it works and how to find new operational parameters and options.  That something needs not be a computer system and I think the mindset that goes along with this is an important part of creative exploration.

Mango Languages - Spanish for Librarians
Now my library…

[Book Review] Podkayne of Mars

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Podkayne of Mars / Robert Heinlein (Powell's Books)



So it seems Heinlein attempted to write "young adult" (or possibly what the book industry is now calling "new adult") fiction.  Our main protagonist, the cheerfully ambitious and optimistic Podkayne Fries, is on her first journey to another planet, leaving her home planet of Mars with her politician uncle and her brilliant yet likely psychopathic little brother.  Shenanigans happen, with a not exactly happy ending, but then again, Heinlein has left his novels with ambiguous endings.

Now, Heinlein passed away some years ago, and even if he hadn't the words of my review wouldn't be of any consequence to him.  But I really feel he had no business trying to write a teenage girl (or even a teenage boy, though we have limited experiences with Clark).  There are a few parts where I feel he did actually manage to hit a decent voice (largely in terms of the self-absorption we all tend to go through during those…

Cherry Wheat (or let's see if we can go 2 for 2 on brewing)

I started a batch of Cherry Wheat over Labor Day weekend.  My second time attempting to brew felt markedly more comfortable than my first time.  I also managed to not break anything and to not do anything as stupid as putting my hand in the chilled wort.  On the other hand, this was definitely the brew of forgetfulness.  Seriously.  I actually put it away in the closet and realized a half hour later that I forgot to add the yeast.  At least I realized, I guess.

I was going to bottle on the 29th, but the nasty cold that worked its way through my department finally hit me.  While still sick, I was at least more functional/less medicated on October 4th, so it struck me as a good time to take care of bottling.  I am kind of puzzled how cat hair got inside the bottling bucket, but that's part of owning a cat, and everything got sanitized before I used it anyway.

With the Pumpkin Wheat it smelled pretty much just like I expected when I cracked it open.  This batch... well, it smelled be…

Link Smorgasbord, October 14 - 20

Stallman: How Much Surveillance Can Democracy Withstand?
I felt this was well laid out and argued, but I am biased towards this side of the arguement.

Books With "Questionable Content" Being Deleted From ebookstores In Sweeping Ban
TL;DR - someone discovered that books labeled as erotica might be smutty and created a huge stink, in the wake of said stink everyone else also overreacted and there was of course collateral damage.

Why Microsoft Word must Die
Charles Stross on Microsoft Word.  Perhaps a bit strongly worded, but well explored and explained as to his reasons behind his stance.

In digital age, librarians are needed more than ever [infographic] 
Great infographic on libraries in a digital age.

How shared endorsements work
Or more importantly, how to turn them off

Coming to an Advertisement Near You…it’s You! 
On further personalization of ads and use of gathered information.

Neil Gaiman “”We have an obligation to tell our politicians the value of reading in creating wor…

NF Display October 2013

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October marks a full year of my non-fiction displays, and also my last display at my current library.  I'm not sure when I will next do a display, but hopefully I will have opportunities again in the near future after I settle into the new library.  Displays have served as a small distraction task, one I can do when I need something to fill the time or am just to overwhelmed to do anything involved.  I get to be creative and productive while hopefully raising interest in our collections.

For once I went somewhat traditional for this month's holiday and went with the paranormal, with a strong focus on ghosts.  As books go out, and they have started going out quite immediately, I expect to branch the selection out a bit.

The encyclopedia of witches and witchcraft / Rosemary Ellen GuileyThe new encyclopedia of the occult / John Michael GreerParanormal people : the famous, the infamous, and the supernatural / Paul ChambersThe haunting of America : from the Salem witch trials to Har…

Link Smorgasbord, October 7 - 13

MakerBridge
Awesome set of resources.  Go look and play.

How the Bible and YouTube are fueling the next frontier of password cracking
I find stuff like this really interesting, and good to keep in mind.

DCL Ebook Report for October 2013 
The landscape is improving.

Self-powered ereaders could be in the offing
This is kinda cool.

From the Sony Walkman to the humble zip: The past century’s top 100 inventions that changed our lives (yet most of us take for granted)
Gadgets and such.

Young People Are Not as Digitally Native as You Think
Not surprising, but then from my point of view I might experience this more than others.  Interestingly by their metric I would have been considered a 'digtial native' when a teen (let alone now).

A Map of Internet Freedom Around the World
Always good to know that while it could get better in the US, it could be a whole lot worse.

Galleys in Stores? Unfinished Work For Sale
It's a bit of a conundrum.  I love having ARCs and galleys, but I also resp…

Last Day

I said goodbye to my workplace of the past three years today.  This whole week has been a goodbye.  Going away work party, exit interview, early goodbyes by staff who wouldn't be there today.  I got some goodbye flowers with a 'thanks for all you've done' note that made me tear up.  I even said goodbye to the guy who takes my pike ticket almost every morning.  It feels a little surreal.  Maybe it will sink in on Tuesday when I start my new job?  The last two weeks have been a blur of frantically trying to adequately wrap everything up so things could be neatly handed off to my yet to be hired replacement (and juggled in the interim by the under-staffed Reference department).

Wrapping up three years is hard.

For the better part of three years I have been the entirety of my library's IT department, and for the large part the entirety of the technology budget.  Some of my knowledge has been openly shared, but 99% of the time it doesn't matter, it comes to me wheth…

Link Smorgasbord, September 30 - October 6

Students Hack School-Issued iPads Within One Week
File under the "color me not surprised" heading.

What Valve's Announcements Mean for Gaming
I'm totally seeing in-house library applications with this.

Librarian Shaming
This is fun.  Some time soon I'll be adding my own contributions

The New Scribd
Scribd is trying out subscription model books.  Cheaper than Oyster and supposedly with a better selection (but from what I've heard that doesn't take much).  Personally not a particular fan of subscription access to books (or really to much, I'd rather own than rely on Netflix).

Testing Seattle's Porn-Friendly Public Libraries
I thought this was neat.

The Abomination of Ebooks: They Price People Out of Reading
My reaction to this article is pretty much "Amen!"

The Big Six Publishers and Library Lending: An Update
TL;DR - it's still a hot mess.

Penguin Drops Side Loading Requirement for Kindle Lending
Still not happy with Penguin, but at le…

[Book Review] Fortune's Pawn

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Fortune's Pawn / Rachel Bach

Devi Morris isn't your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It's a combination that's going to get her killed one day-but not just yet.That is, until she gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn't misnamed; it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she's found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her plan. But the Fool doesn't give up its secrets without a fight, and one year on this ship might be more than even Devi can handle. I'm generally a fan of bad ass women in space, so this book caught my interest.  If that was all I looked for in a book this would have been pretty fantastic.  Devi is badass, ambitious, and good at what she does.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Fortune's Pawn is told in a past tense first pe…

What's in your wallet?

As it turns out, a library card is damn useful to have in your wallet.  Especially when you lose your wallet.  Why's that?  Because unless you have a personal business card in your wallet, there is likely no quick way to get in touch with you.

Tonight while covering the Reference Desk I got a call asking about a patron.  In particular, if we could get in touch with this patron.  While visiting a store a patron had left their wallet behind.  The store manager opened the wallet and upon finding a library card proceeded to call us.  Now, we cannot give out patron information, but I was able to call the patron and let them know about the location of their wallet.

Just make sure to let your library know when your phone number changes!

Link Smorgasbord, September 23 - 29

Bruce Schneier: NSA Spying Is Making Us Less Safe
"It’s sheer folly to believe that only the NSA can exploit the vulnerabilities they create. Additionally, by eavesdropping on all Americans, they’re building the technical infrastructure for a police state."

Downloading Is Mean! Content Industry Drafts Anti-Piracy Curriculum for Elementary Schools 
Because D.A.R.E. worked so well (if you think I'm serious I have a bridge you might be interested in buying).  I'm glad to see that it acknowledges Creative Commons but I definitely feel it largely gives the wrong impression and overly simplifies the admittedly complicated matter of copyright law.  I think they'd be better off teaching kids "don't be a dick" (in more polite wording) and save the subject of copyright for late elementary school or middle school.  Also, perhaps the curriculum could be drafted without major input from the MPAA and the RIAA?  It could just be me, but I feel in the wake of th…