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Showing posts from October, 2013

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…