Friday, December 15, 2006

Chumby - personal wireless interactive companion

Chumby is a compact device that uses the wireless internet to fetch information from the web: music, the latest news, box scores, animations, etc. It can also exchange photos and messages and it’s always on. Chumby isn’t a product per se, it’s a feature enabler. It’s a blank canvas that you fill with whatever you want. It’s made to be hacked, modded, and what I find especially interesting - integrated into other objects. Object design is evolving at a rapid pace with new materials, rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing. The next frontier is embedded intelligence (see how RFID is evolving here) and interactivity. Chumby is a very open platform for interactivity that in my opinion object designers should look at and start to play with. The best part - it’s free if you can convince them. Information and objects are converging.

From BoingBoing

NYT 100 Notable Books of the Year

The New York Times has posted what it feels are the 100 most notable books of 2006. If you need some holiday reading, you might peruse their list.

Found on Librarian in Black

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Audiobooks in French, German, Chinese and other languages

Librivox has posted quite a few titles read in languages other than English. LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back onto the net. Their goal is to make all public domain books available as free audio books. They are a totally volunteer, open source, free content, public domain project.

Google launches patent search site

Google has added another piece of search software to its arsenal, with the launch of Google Patent Search.

The patent search site, launched as a beta on Wednesday night, is designed to sift through the approximately 7 million U.S. patents by a variety of parameters including filing date, issue date, patent number and inventor.

Thanks c/net News

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Mozart Catalog Is Now Available Online

The database available at also contains more than 8,000 pages of critical commentary published since 1954, said Ulrich Leisinger, head of research at the International Mozart Foundation.

The launch of the Web site this week comes as a year commemorating the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth complete with thousands of concerts, opera performances and exhibitions across Austria draws to a close.

WEB 2.0 and Its Technologies for Collaborative Library Communication has posted a very informative article by Robert Lackie on the free web-based interactive communication tools that can help librarians and other educators seamlessly access, create, organize, and disseminate information for their library, themselves, colleagues, and friends. Discussed in depth are:
• Social Collaboration
• Blogging
• RSS and Bloglines
• Social Bookmarking with
• Wikis and pbwiki, and more. There is also an extensive bibliography.

Thanks Librarian in Black

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

State of Florida launches book drive for kids

State agencies are marking the holidays with a massive book drive for the kids.

Gov. Jeb Bush is touting “A Season of Reading,” a program that encourages the donation of new and “gently used” books to mentoring programs throughout the state.

Last year, 11 state agencies gleaned 80,000 books for Florida students and families, according to a written release issued by Bush.

Coordinated by Florida Mentoring Partnership and managed by the Volunteer Florida, the program encourages state agencies to serve as drop off points for the books, which are donated to mentoring programs in the communities where the donations are made.

"In this season of giving, I encourage all Floridians to open their hearts and give the most precious gift we can give our children -- the gift of reading,” Bush said.

The program coincides with National Mentoring Month in January. The deadline for book drop offs is Jan. 19.

For more information, and drop off locations, go to or

Monday, December 11, 2006

New chip type may replace flash memory, disk drives

A group of companies led by IBM have announced a new chip technology, dubbed phase-change memory, that could someday replace flash memory and tiny hard-disk drives in portable devices. InfoWorld reports: “The companies on Monday announced the results of their latest research into the technology, which they say will do a better job of storing songs, pictures, and other data on iPods and digital cameras than current flash memory, and could someday replace disk drives. Among the advances, the companies have built a prototype device that runs 500 times faster than today’s flash memory while using half as much power to write data to a memory cell, they said.”

From iPod Lounge

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Swivel - a place where curious people explore data

Swivel lets you explore data and share your insights with others. Swivel has data about politics, economics, weather, sports, business and more.
You can:

  • Explore popular data or obscure data. Search for it or have fun cruising all the colorful graphs, data sets and opinions.

  • Compare gas prices to presidential approval ratings or UFO sightings to iPod sales. You might find a crazy coincidence or something more.

  • Share your insights by posting a graph to your blog or emailing a link to your friends and coworkers.

  • Upload the information you care about, describe it, pick a color scheme and even pick a cool photo to bring it to life.

Microsoft launches a book search service

Google Books got some competition (sort of) today as Microsoft launched Live Search Books (wtf!). Seems rather slow and only offers older, public domain stuff. Also looks remarkably like Google Books. How long has it been since Redmond had a really original idea?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

BioMed Search - Biomedical Image Search Engine

Alex Ksikes just unveiled his latest project, BioMed Search, with the aim to “organize figures, images or schema found in biomedical articles.” Over 1 million illustrations have been indexed so far.

Monday, December 04, 2006 launches AskCity local map search

Search engines are the #1 online most-used resource for local information, ahead of yellow pages and local newspaper sites, and local searches account for about 10% of all searches on major search engines. Yet local is the category with the lowest user satisfaction in search. There is this gaping need for better local search. AskCity thinks they have it.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Library Delivery 2.0: Delivering Library Materials in the Age of NetFlix

An article in discusses how Netflix and similar services are shaping expectations about product delivery, which in turn are driving libraries to rethink how items are delivered to their customers. Library Delivery 2.0 refers to the idea of delivering library materials into the user’s hands in a way that is personalized, convenient and fast. Library Delivery 2.0 builds on the concept of Library 2.0, a concept of a very different library service that operates according to the expectations of today’s library users.

Taming the Digital Beast

Andy Patrizio of Campus Technology Magazine asks, "Is your digital institutional repository out of control? It’s time to step back and look at contribution, access, rights, storage, and functionality—issues you don’t want to monkey with."

Well worth a read! Link to the article. And thanks to The Orange Grove

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Museopen - online repository of classical music

Musopen is a community driven, online music repository started by a music and economics college student named Aaron Dunn.

This site takes music that is in the public domain, meaning a work that belongs to the community, and has it recorded by individuals and college/community orchestras throughout the United States and stored online so it can be accessed for free through this website.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Google on iPods and the future of digital media

Speaking at the FT World Communications Conference, Nikesh Arora, Google's VP of European operations, told delegates that, in the coming years, the plummeting price of storage and its increasing volume-to-size ratio will give iPods almost unlimited potential to hold music and video. Arora said, by 2012, iPods could launch at similar prices to those on sale now and yet be capable of holding a whole year's worth of video releases. Around 10 years down the line that could be expanded, creating iPods that can hold all the music ever sold commercially." He also said that that there will be greater convergence between mobile and internet, as consumers expect to be able to access traditional web content and services on the mobile platform.


Monday, November 27, 2006

LIBWORM - over 1000 library-related RSS feeds

LibWorm is a search engine, a professional development tool, and a current awareness tool for people who work in libraries or care about libraries. LibWorm collects updates from about 1400 RSS feeds (and growing). The contents of these feeds are then available for searching, and search results can themselves be output as an RSS feed that the user can subscribe to either in his/her favourite aggregator or in LibWorm's built-in aggregator.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Amazon Launches "Askville"

Amazon has released a Question & Answers site of their own called Askville. Currently in invite-only Beta, the site looks cleaner than Yahoo Answers, and as opposed to Google Answers, you don’t have to pay to ask questions. Activity on the site – like asking a question, or answering one – is rewarded with “quest coins” which can later on be spent in Questville.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Monday, November 06, 2006
Go Topix! Go
TechCrunch has a piece on Topix, my favorite news engine. Here's a few things to keep in mind:"What does Topix offer that Yahoo! News and Google News don’t? A few things. When Topix relaunched in August, the company said its index had grown to include 50,000 news sources - 10 times more than the Google News and 7 times as large as Yahoo! News. Topix has topical pages, has strong search by zip code, integrates relatively active forums and visualization. The year long time line displayed with every search is a fast way to skip to a particular date in a news search and shows the context of the point in time you are skipping to. Try using the timeline on Topix and then try to accomplish the same result with Yahoo or Google news search. Topix also has the most extensive support for RSS."If you think you are doing a complete free news search by using Yahoo and/or Google news, think again.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Zamzar - Free online file conversion

From Library Stuff

Zamzar is a really handy site to which you upload files in most any format - whether a document, image, video or music file - convert them to most any format and have them emailed back to you. Really handy if you want go from, say, .avi to .ogg, or .m4a to .mp3. Lots of options!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Check out Zotero.

Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources. It lives right where you do your work — in the web browser itself.

Some cool features include automatic capture of citation information from web pages, note taking and tagging.

Zotero is open source.

Free Library Journal Subscription for Lib School Students

From Librarian in Black
Library Journal is offering a free one year subscription to library school students. All you need is a valid and current student ID. To download a subscription request, go here.

Google launches mobile version of G-Mail

From CNET News
Google is very smart about mobile devices. On a PDA or cell phone, the Google search experience has been, for quite a while, very different than it is on a full-size screen. Google even parses Web pages it links to and tries to repackage them in a mobile-friendly way. (To force the Google mobile version, go to

Gmail, though, has not been a great experience on mobile devices. But on Thursday Google released a mobile Java Gmail application for cell phones that makes using your Gmail account much easier. The new app--which will be preloaded onto some new Sprint phones, or available for download for anyone else who has a Java-capable phone here--is a very good mobile version of the Gmail Web app. The app gives Gmail its own custom menu system, which is much easier to navigate than a Web-based app would be on a cell phone. Gmail's message threading also shows up clearly, and the site displays attachments (like photos, Word documents) in the app.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

National Novel Writing Month

From the site:
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

Pretty cool!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Free old-time radio horror shows

From the site:
Thought you had seen everything, all those old movies and television shows two or three times even? Well you probably haven't experienced old time radio! This media is so old, it is refreshingly "brand new" to many of us. Here, we present 100 of our favorite horror theme stories, from shows like Witch's Tale, Lights Out, Innersanctum, Quiet Please, The Haunted Hour and others. These are the very stories that inspired favorite Horror Comics and shows like Twilight Zone and Thriller! In fact, old time radio horror show, "Witch's Tale" is reported to have served as direct inspiration for EC Comics.

Scary Books from Google

Google Book Search launched another special event micro site... this time, it’s all about scary stories in time for Halloween. These are older books that already passed into the public domain, like Bram Stoker’s "Dracula", Shelly's "Frankenstein" and lots more obscure thrillers like Edith Wharton's "The Eyes" and Thomas Hardy's "The Withered Arm". Neat stuff!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Firefox 2.0 ready for download

Firefox 2.0 brings many improvements and new features from its predecessor. Some of which include reduced memory consumption, improved performance, strengthened security and much more. The following is the official list as stated by Mozilla’s press release:
• Tabbed Browsing - more custom options. close button added to tabs. session history.
• Spell Check - inline spell check for web forms. works with most online blogging tools.
• Search - real-time live results. search engine management options.
• Web Feeds - ability to add feed to live bookmarks, Thunderbird, Google reader, etc.
• ID Theft Protection - spyware/popup blocker. phishing protection. blacklists.
• Customization - more add-ons for specific features. (themes and plugins)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Animated "how to" for tying knots

Not really library related (unless you are asked by a patron for knot tying assistance), but very helpful site.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

eBooks on your WAP-enabled phone! (text to phone!)turns your internet-enabled cell phone or PDA into a book-reading device. And you don't need a lot of memory in your mobile device -- because all the text is stored on the server and downloaded one page at a time. There's no need to download and install any software, all you need is an Internet-enabled cell phone or PDA. And the service is free! (Your mobile service provider may charge you for the data downloaded, refer to the "data usage" section of your plan.)

Google as your federated search interface

For a while now I've noticed that journal articles from some not-for-profit (but not free) content delivery projects--like JSTOR and Project MUSE--have populated my Google search results. But the implications of that never sunk in until I sat in on recent presentations by salespeople from both Gale Thomson and EBSCO, both of who say they are working with Google on a similar capability: results from their databases will appear in Google results.

Apparently, how this would work is still under development, with issues such as result placement algorithms and the point at which user verification occurs being among the major issues.

But still, the idea of Google being the interface for federating searching makes sense in a context where libraries are constantly resisting the user behavior of going to Google first and ending their information searches with what is found there. Making other federated search interfaces as simple as Google may not be enough--if users go to Google anyway. And I have to confess that I've been one to protest against the dumbing down of federated search interfaces; but Google is the elephant in the room, and can't be ignored.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Google Launches "Google Docs & Spreadsheets"

In a bold move toward Web 2.0, Google has formally bundled and launched their word processing and spreadsheet web applications under Google Docs & Spreadsheets.

From the site:

With Google Docs & Spreadsheets, you can:

* Use our online editor to format documents, spell-check and more.
* Upload Word documents, OpenOffice, RTF, HTML or text.
* Download documents to your desktop as Word, PDF and more.
* View your documents' revision history and roll back to any version.

Plus, since its online, you can:

* Invite others to share your documents by e-mail address.
* Edit documents online with whomever you choose.
* Publish documents online to the world, or to just who you choose.
* Post your documents to your blog.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Yahoo! Time Capsule: One World. Many Voices.

Yahoo! Time capsule

For 30 days, from October 10 until November 8, Yahoo! users worldwide can contribute photos, writings, videos, audio – even drawings – to this electronic anthropology project. This is the first time that digital data will be gathered and preserved for historical purposes.

In addition to submitting your own content, you can view, read, or hear the images, words, and sounds contributed by users from around the world.

You can also comment on the content you and others have submitted – and engage in a digital conversation that is just as revealing and important as any of the content you’ll witness.

And by November 8, you will have helped create a digital legacy of our times, a mosaic of revealing snapshots that will be sealed and entrusted to Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and its Smithsonian Global Sound® based in Washington D.C., officially taking its place in history.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Interesting discussion of library obsolescence

Prompted by an article in the Lawrence, Kansas newspaper that called libraries "inefficient", "limited" and "obsolete", the discussion is hot over at

Monday, October 02, 2006

Flickr Set of Old Penguin Book Jackets

From Boing Boing

A really cool Filckr set of old Penguin book covers. A real stroll down memory lane for us long-time Penguin fans!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Add a link to Aleph OPAC

Bill Drew at Baby Boomer Librarian posts:
I have added javascript code to our ALEPH version 16 web OPAC to create a permanent link and a link to create a link. It works in the search results, full record display, and the holdings display. ALEPH allows the creation of permanent links. That was the basis for the javascript. It was modified by Nathan Fixler at the SUNY Office of Library and Information Services. I can read and sometimes even modifiy javascripts but this particlular code was beyond my skill level.

The catalog is at if you want to try it.

Here is one example of a tag created at

Let me know what you think about this.

FSU releases "Public Libraries and the Internet"

From the press release:
TALLAHASSEE, FL—A national report released today reveals that 99 percent of all U.S. public libraries provide free public access to computers wired to the Internet, compared to 25 percent 10 years ago. Librarians overwhelmingly (71 percent) report that the most important impact of this service is providing Internet access to those who otherwise would not have it. This is the first time that impact has been quantified on a national scale.

The report also reveals that despite increased demand for library computers, libraries typically have not seen a corresponding increase in budgets and many are challenged to provide enough computers or fast-enough connection speeds to meet demand.

From the site:
The national survey provides longitudinal data regarding public library Internet connectivity and public access computing services and resources, but also explores the impacts and benefits that communities derive from public library connectivity. The case sites focused primarily on successfully networked public libraries and the issues, solutions, and approaches that these libraries faced and resolved in order to develop sustainable and high quality public access computing and Internet services.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

UC Berkeley Lectures on Google Video

Over 100 introductory lectures, campus seminars, courses and events from the University of Californis at Berkeley are now available on Google Video.

Chicago Manual of Style on-line

From TeleRead:
Effective tomorrow, American-English purists can get definitive answers from the Manual by way of subscriptions ($25 intro for individuals, permanent price $30, institutional price dependent on size of organization). Here’s the site’s home page.

NPR is hiring a blogger

A page has been posted on National Public Radio's corporate site advertising the position. From the description:
Hosts and writes for blog that serves as users’ daily guide to the events of the day and notable stories on the network and the Web; uses news judgment and a lively prose style to present a singular perspective, writing and reporting original items and drawing other NPR reporter/correspondents and listeners into analysis and discussion; may also host a podcast of the day’s top on-air stories; and may serve as a public representative of National Public Radio, Inc.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mobile web shake-up gets started

The mobile web is about to receive the biggest shake-up in years with the start of open registration for mobile phone-specific website addresses.

The general public can now register websites ending with .mobi (dotmobi) as the backers of the mobile net hope to overturn consumer apathy.

Read more here

Friday, September 22, 2006

ZOTERO, the next-generation research tool

A replacement for EndNotes and a lot more, ZOTERO works with most library catalogs, some popular dot-coms such as Amazon, and many gated databases. Among its features, ZOTERO:

* captures citation information you want from a web page automatically, without typing or cutting and pasting on your part, and saves this information directly into the correct fields (e.g., author, title, etc.) of your Zotero library

* lets you store—beyond citations—PDFs, files, images, links, and whole web pages

* allows you to easily take notes on the research materials you capture

* makes it easy to organize your research materials in multiple ways, such as folders, saved searches (smart folders), and tags

* offers fast, as-you-type search through your materials so that you can quickly find that source that you only vaguely remember

* lets you export formatted citations to your paper, article, book, or website

* has an easy-to-use, modern interface that simplifies all of your research tasks, with "where has that been?" features such as autosaving your notes as you type

* runs right in your web browser and is a platform for new forms of digital research that can be extended with other web tools and services

* is free and open source

* has a name that is loosely based on the Albanian (yes, Albanian) word zotëroj, meaning "to acquire, to master," as in learning

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Quicker Than A Ray of Light Staff Day Video

From: Tame the Web via The Shifted Librarian

Quoting Michael Stephens of SJPCL:
For your viewing enjoyment, in light of the recent Warner Brothers/You Tube alliance, is "Ray of Light" from SJCPL Staff Day 2003. It's taken three years, but now I feel much more comfortable posting this and I did get permission from SJCPL administration. This video was borne out of a time that we wanted to show the staff how important every single person is to the mission of the library. Ity's not books, or snazzy technology, or a beautiful building, folks, it's people that make the library go round in my book.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Google

From:Boing Boing
Bruce Sterling's uproariously funny story "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Google" has just been published in the New Scientists -- it's a short short story about the life of a teenager when today's tools of ubiquitous computer control and surveillance are perfected. Like all great science fiction, this doesn't so much predict the future as it predicts the present:

I tried hard to buy us another spray can. I'm a street poet, so really, I tried. I walked up to the mall-store register, disguised in my Dad's business jacket, with cash in hand. They're cheap, aerosol spray cans. Beautiful colours of paint, just screaming to get sprayed someplace public where everybody has to see what's on our minds. The store wouldn't sell me the can. The e-commerce system simply would not allow that transaction. The screen just went gray and stayed gray.

That creepy "differential permissioning" sure saves a lot of trouble for grown-ups. Increasing chunks of the world are just... magically off limits. It's a weird new regime where every mall and every school and every bus and train and jet is tagged and tracked and ambient and pervasive and ubiquitous and geolocative... Jesus, I love those words... Where was I?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

re-charge your batteries almost anywhere

Simple re-useable Energy

Yesterday, USBCELL launched the premier product for the company: the AA USB-rechargable battery.

This rechargeable battery can charge from any USB port without the need for any recharging devices, cradles or cables. Simply pop the lid to reveal a built in connector and charger, plug into any powered USB port on your desktop, laptop, keyboard or games console, to charge the battery.

USBCELL can be used exactly like a normal battery meaning there is now no need to purchase huge packs of alkaline batteries, or invest in or carry a clunky charger. Read more at their site...

Sadly, this UK-based company doesn't appear to be processing orders from outside areas. But, according to their site, they will be soon.

USBCELL is a product of Moixa Energy Ltd., which is a spin out of Moixa Energy Holdings founded, by Simon Daniel and Chris Wright. Their mission is to invent and deliver technologies that provide consumers with better solutions for their mobile or home power requirements that are more usable, economic and environmentally friendly.

Extensive Arab Stock Photo Library

JumpImages responds to the need for high-quality Arab-related imagery by unveiling, the premier Arab imagery source. The website contains a massive collection of high-quality, rights-managed and royalty-free imagery focusing on the diversity of modern Arab life.

Featured in this collection is a mix of talent including UAE Emiratis, other GCC nationals, and international models. The site showcases the diversity of modern Arab life by depicting business, leisure, and family lifestyles and emphasizing the growing prosperity of the GCC region.

Not-so-local lunar library

From: New Scientist

There's one place you may not have thought to store your valuable computer information. Just look up.

Hollow lava tubes on the Moon could be used as a giant digital library. That's one commercial possibility for the Moon put forth in a white paper by a NASA scientist.

In addition to being able to relay information to Earth like geosynchronous satellites, a lunar-based system could also process and store information, says David McKay.

The lunar computers could be buried in lunar soil, put at the bottom of craters or set into lava tubes, which are subsurface caves in which lava used to flow. Previously, scientists have suggested using lava tubes for human habitation.

Commercial data stored on Earth can be destroyed by natural disasters, wars or fires. In 500 BC, the Royal Library of Alexandria in Egypt housed records of the ancient world, and the entire library or at least some collections were ruined in a fire. The benefits of lunar storage are that there is no oxygen to erode the material, constant sub-freezing temperature and the Moon is currently free of all of the havoc wreaked by humankind.

Astronauts on lunar missions could set up the data communication and storage system if they return to the Moon.

The Moon could be used like Noah's ark, hosting a collection of plant and animal material, proposes McKay, who made headlines a decade ago when he and others announced that Martian meteorite ALH 84001 had rod-like structures that appeared to be fossilised microbes.

Families could even pay a fee to preserve photographs in the lunar library for future civilizations. McKay calls it the "ultimate time capsule."

Kelly Young

Monday, September 18, 2006

33 ways RFID has infiltrated your life

From:RFID Lowdown

Imagine this... robbing a bank is no longer a lucrative option, because every dollar in the bank has an embedded RFID chip that can be tracked anywhere on the globe... or, the RFID chip embedded in your hand interacts with and leads you to the right smart shelves in the supermarket that have your size jeans and clothes (the chip in your hand records your weight and waist-size in real time)...

Sound like science fiction to you? Maybe not; RFID has already settled comfortably in our midst, and is creeping onward every day...

More at the link.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Google Books features Banned Books during "Banned Books Week"

Google Book Search and the American Library Association have teamed up to offer searchable indices and library links to banned books, in celebration of Banned Books Week (Sept 23-30). Included in the catalog are 1984, Lolita, Lord of the Flies, the Great Gatsby, The Color Purple, Brave New World, Naked Lunch, Invisible Man, Cats Cradle, and many other titles.

Friday, September 08, 2006

NY Times launches phone/pda friendly site.

“Providing a similar navigation to the Web site, the mobile site provides a version of that is easily read and navigated on mobile phones. The site is not dependent on carriers. Any consumer who has a Web-enabled phone and pays for a Web data plan will be able to access the mobile site.”

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Amazon Movie Downloads to launched today.
After plenty of rumorings, it doesn't look like Amazon will be able to keep mum on the subject for long, since they're expected to launch "Unbox" today. The word on prices isn't exactly wonderful: rentals should go for about 4 bucks, while permanent downloads are hovering at $15. TV shows are matching the $2 iTunes pricepoint, and should be available the day after they air. As for studios, Amazon is purported to have Warner Bros., Fox, Paramount, MGM, Lionsgate, Sony and Universal all signed up, but Disney is said to be holding out for iTunes at this point. Picture quality is supposed to be DVD-ish, and videos will be playable in Amazon's Windows-only Unbox player (pictured), or on your TV or portable device. So far the URL is redirecting to a plain-vanilla DVD page, but if all this word on the street proves true we should be seeing it up in the next few hours.

Google Launches News Archive Search

Google has announced a new service, "Google News Archive Search", which enables users to scour through archives of more than 200 years old historical content from newspapers, magazines, and other publications.

According to Google, the service is aimed at allowing users to explore history 'as it unfolded.' With this service, users can see how viewpoints/ideas/events changed over time. The archive search presents stories on particular subjects in the order in which they happened, so that users can go back to particular dates and understand how things changed or evolved over time. There is also a facility for users to search archives of particular publications.

An addition to Google News, the archival search is available as a link on the News page - as an alternative to searching the wider Web. Initially, the service is available only in US English. However, the company plans to introduce other languages eventually.

The databases included in this service are part of what some might call the "dark Web" as they cannot be indexed by standard search engines. The archival service is geared to provide users with content from both free as well as subscription-based news services.

Reportedly, Google has partnered with a number of sources for its new service, and the list reads thus: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Time, Guardian Unlimited, Factiva, Lexis-Nexis, HighBeam Research, Thomson Gale, and

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Beginning Sept. 7, check out a Museum Adventure Pass at your local library for free admission at participating museums and other organizations

The Museum Adventure Pass gives library users free admission for up to 4 people at participating museums and other organizations. Click here for more information.

Free Wiki Textbook Project

From: TeleRead

The Wiki-based Global Textbook Project’s goal is 1,000 wiki-created textbooks on “topics typically encountered in the first two years of a university’s undergraduate programs.” May the drive-by concept kick in and work out!

The new project’s organizers promise “several innovations to improve the quality of the books” and already enjoys international participation. Rick Watson (photo), the Georgia professor initiating the effort, has already masterminded XML: Managing Data Exchange.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Search Google via SMS

Click the image to enlarge

Get driving directions, stock prices, movie times, weather, currency cinversion - anything you can do on Google you can now do on your SMS-enabled phone.

The steps (given by Google):
1. Start a new text message and type in your search query
2. Send the message to the number "46645" (GOOGL)
3. You'll receive text message(s) with results

Try it out here:

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Google Book Search offers free book downloads

From: Boing Boing

Google Books has just started offering downloads of their public domain books as PDF files. You can search for 'free view' books to find downloads.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Video of Philips roll-up screen for e-reader

From: gizmodo
You've heard of e-ink devices, like the Sony Librie, or e-reader, or whatever. But you've never seen a real working prototype of an electronic reader based on a flexible e-paper, that rolls up like a scroll. And you've never seen a video of said device being explained by a Norwegian named Hans to an Austrailian guy named Max...Mad Max. Whatever, I don't care what his real name is. What we care about is the prototype's 5-inch screen that runs at 320 by 240 pixels. The screen, by E-Ink corporation, only uses power to change states, so battery life is measured in page turns. Video below demos the device.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Google Apps for Your Domain

From the site:

Now you can offer private-labeled email, IM and calendar tools to all of your users for free, so they can share ideas and get things done more effectively. You can design and publish your organization's website, too. It's all hosted by Google, so there's no hardware or software for you to install or maintain.

Google Inc. has launched Google Apps for Your Domain, a suite of hosted collaboration applications for small to medium-size businesses, universities, groups and affinity organizations, with plans to expand to larger companies by year’s end.

Organizations will be able to sign up for the beta version of the free browser-based, hosted-application service, which Google expects will be up and running Monday.

Google's foot in the office door

From c/net News

Google is launching another attack on the corporate world, offering up a suite of business applications on Monday.

The suite includes Gmail with 2GB of storage, Google Calendar, Google Talk and Page Creator. It's an extension of a service the company launched in February that lets organizations use Gmail with their own e-mail address.

Google still makes most of its money from search-related advertising. But with beta versions of spreadsheet and word-processing programs in the works, it's clear the company is aiming for bigger markets.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Stunning photos of world libraries

From c/net news

Prepare yourself, then, to view some incredible images of libraries from around the world. (Do not be deterred by the article title)

From the site:
Yesterday I came across a truly gorgeous book of photographs by Candida Höfer titled, Libraries, a title which pretty much says it all, because that is just exactly what it is, one rich, sumptuous, photo of a library interior after another. It’s like porn for book nerds. Seriously. They are gorgeous photos, nearly all without visitors and just begging to be entered.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Interactive Map of the Islamic World - can you name them?

Can you name and locate the countries of the Islamic world?

Google opens Writely word processor to public

From SkatterTech

Writely, an online word processor, was acquired by Google in January 2006. (more info here) Since then the service has been offered to the public, but on an invite-only basis. But last week Google finally finished moving servers and opened Writely up for the public. Unlike other Google Products, which require use or creation of a free Google Account, Writely is available for everyone. To register click here, enter your email address, pick a password, and done!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

BritLit - free downloads of English Literature

From the site:
The aim of BritLit is to help teachers from around the world to exploit English literature in the ELT classroom. Here you can find a range of materials based around the works of various authors.

Each BritLit resource kit contains a range of materials to help students understand the context of the literature as well as the language and the works themselves.

Many of the packs contain complete texts, tasks for students , teachers' notes as well as audio recordings of interviews with the authors and readings of the text.

You'll find works by Arthur C. Clarke, Roald Dahl, Far Weldon and many, many more!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - Life explained. On film.

Videojug is on a mission to be the ultimate source of video instruction on just about anything imaginable, from identifying cancer to cooking pasta. "We are building a living encyclopedia of life, on video," the site proclaims. Meager content at the moment, but lots of potential!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Over 10,000 Old-time Radio Shows - FREE!

From the site:
The OTR.Network is a new online resource for Old Time Radio (OTR) enthusiasts. We have over 11,000 OTR shows available for instant listening, and we add at least 100 more every week. Oh yeah, did we mention it's free?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

UC Libraries Join Google's Book Project

From ABC News
The University of California is joining Google Inc.'s book-scanning project, throwing the weight of another 100 academic libraries behind an ambitious venture that's under legal attack for alleged copyright infringement.

The deal to be announced Wednesday covers all the libraries in UC's 10-campus system, marking the biggest expansion of Google's effort to convert millions of library books into digital form since a group of authors and publishers sued last fall to derail a project launched 20 months ago.

"We think this is a pretty significant step forward," said Adam Smith, the group product manager overseeing Google's book-scanning initiative.

UC joins three other major U.S. universities Stanford, Michigan and Harvard that are contributing their vast library collections to Google's crusade to ensure reams of knowledge written on paper makes the transition to the digital age. The New York Public Library and Oxford University also are allowing portions of their libraries to be scanned.

More at the link.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

1992 Volvo Bookmobile for sale

Offered on eBay (currently at $5100.00 and below reserve). You could live in it!
1992 Volvo Bookmobile with 1992 36' Moroney Library- self contained- 7.5 kw diesel generator, copeland a/c, converter, inverter, webasto heater. Truck and trailer are in outstanding condition with only 114k highway miles on each of them. Runs and drives like new. 215 hp 3116 catapillar turbo charged diesel. H/D Fuller 6 speed trans. 31000 gvw. 32000 gvw for trailer. Tires and brakes good. Removable 3 passenger bunk, intercom system throughout truck, trailer and bunk.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Swap sites are becoming very popular. Check out Bookmooch, a community for exchanging used books.

The public version of WorledCat is live


Search for items in a library near you!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Great Marketing -Google at ALA 2006

Google highlights its presence at ALA 2006 -nice 3min video

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

PDF of hints for using Boolean Operators

From Laurie the Librarian via Librarian in Black
Laurie has posted many useful guides on her blog, and this one is particularly useful for some of our patrons. Thanks Laurie and LIB!

Ex Libris to be Acquired by Francisco Partners

In a joint announcement library software producer Ex Libris and the California-based equity fund Francisco Partners (FP) have announced they have reached a "definitive agreement" on the acquisition of 100% of Ex Libris by FP. The final acquisition is expected to occur in September of this year.

For those of us wed to Ex Libris in a sort of codependent "love-hate" marriage the news brings a mixed response. On one hand an infusion of solid management and a dose of cold, hard cash can certainly be a good thing. On the other hand, equity funds expect performance and it is likely that the entire Ex Libris product line will be evaluated for return on investment. That doesn't bode well for a couple of products, notably their Aleph LMS. Ex Libris said in their internal announcement that nothing will change, stating:
"Ex Libris will continue to develop and enhance its existing products based on market trends and requirements generated by our customers. The financial backing of Francisco Partners will enable us to explore acquisition opportunities for complementary products in the library automation and e-resource markets."

Time will tell.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

recommendation engines

Here's a
to the main site with links to recommendation engines for music, films and books. And here's the link to the literature-map, the book recommendation engine. Lots of fun. Watch your favorite author's names fly on near-collision courses as they are arranged to show relevance by proximity.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Amazon to launch movie service

Advertising Age reports that because of Apple’s digital music dominance, Amazon chose to drop music and focus on video. “The service, which is referred to as Amazon Digital Video—or Amazon ‘DV’—has evolved over the past year from a music-themed offering to a video-centric one, according to production-studio and TV-network executives briefed on the plans. The reason? Apple already commands such a large share of digital-music sales that Amazon felt it would be too difficult to break into the market.” Amazon’s service will require users to install software to buy videos individually, “likely as part of a download-to-own model, or subscribe to them, like a digital version of Netflix’s rental model.”

Amazon to launch movie service

Advertising Age reports that because of Apple’s digital music dominance, Amazon chose to drop music and focus on video. “The service, which is referred to as Amazon Digital Video—or Amazon ‘DV’—has evolved over the past year from a music-themed offering to a video-centric one, according to production-studio and TV-network executives briefed on the plans. The reason? Apple already commands such a large share of digital-music sales that Amazon felt it would be too difficult to break into the market.” Amazon’s service will require users to install software to buy videos individually, “likely as part of a download-to-own model, or subscribe to them, like a digital version of Netflix’s rental model.”

Academic PR Forum and Library Giveaways

Fearless Future, an innovative consulting firm focusing on "education, libraries, and groups that work for the common good", has launched Academic PR a forum for discussing the marketing efforts of academic endeavors. The initial post discusses library marketing and library giveaways and how to gain the most from library marketing efforts.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

OCLC news

OCLC is planning to launch a new destination site and downloadable search box for searching the content of libraries participating in WorldCat. Scheduled for a beta release sometime in August 2006, the new site will continue OCLC’s efforts begun with its Open WorldCat program to make library resources more visible to Web users and to increase awareness of libraries as a primary source of reliable information.

More information and links here

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

33 Places to Hangout in the Social Networking Era

Check out this really impressive list of social networks.
33 Places to Hangout in the Social Networking Era

This entry, in particular, caught my attention:
BookCrossing - In the real world, bookcrossing is 'the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.' BookCrossing aims to turn this concept virtual, and exactly that.
Best for: Book lovers

Looks like fun!!

Here's a place where you can have a defintion printed on a t-shirt. What a service!! What possibilities!! A gift for someone who has everything! link

...and if that's not enough fun, create your own artwork! link What a retirement plan!!

Connotea - a free online reference management service

Check out Connotea.This site provides the ability to create your own tags, bookmarks and more related to research. It also provides the detailed citation information and allows you to see what others have found that may be related to your area of research.

The front page looks strange at first glance but what it is actually providing is a look at what other Connotea users are currently reading about. The size and colorization indicates recent usage and how frequently a tag is used.

Along with the services it provides, it incorporates brief (2 minutes or so) tutorials targeted at specific areas or needs. Take a look and see what you think.

The site is provided by the Nature Publishing Group (

Monday, July 10, 2006

Free eBooks anybody?

World eBook Fair July 4th - Aug 4th

World eBook Fair is sponsored by Project Gutenberg , World eBook Library Consortia , DPP Store , Baen Books , Qoop ,

Please visit us (see below) from July 4th-August 4, 2006 to download your selections from 1/3 million free eBooks.

July 4th to August 4, 2006 marks a month long celebration of the 35th anniversary of the first step taken towards today's eBooks, when the United States Declaration of Independence was the first file placed online for downloading in what was destined to be an electronic library of the Internet. Today's eBook library has a total of over 100 languages represented.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Free iPod Foreign Phrasebooks and more!

From the site:
Coolgorilla is dedicated to bringing you free iPod software. That's right, every download on this site is free and won't cost you a penny. So if your looking to turn your iPod into a phrasebook to help you learn another language, turn it into an interactive encyclopaedia crammed full of facts about your favourite sport or just have some fun and use it to play games you've come to the right place.

Samsung’s Braille phone wins gold at IDEA 2006


Samsung’s Braille mobile phone for the visually impaired has won the Gold Award at the Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), one of the world's most authoritative design competitions.

The “Touch Messenger” enables the visually impaired users to send and receive Braille text messages. The 3 x 4 button on the phone is used as two Braille keypads and text messages can be checked through the Braille display screen in the lower part.

At the moment, the “Touch Messenger” is just a concept, but Samsung is willing commercialize it some day, which could boost the quality of life for as many as 180 million people worldwide.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Google Checkout goes live

Google has launched Google Checkout a PayPal-like system to shop online without having to re-enter your personal information, and without having to remember different passwords. There areen't many stores honoring the service, yet. Knowing Google, though, that should change quickly. Several merchants are offering promos with $10 discounts on purchases of $20 or more. I just used the service at and it worked like a charm - AND I got $10 off on a $26 order!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A terabyte of storage on a DVD disk

From CNet News

Haifa, Israel--Matteris doesn't think optical disks, even Blu-ray ones, hold enough storage.

The company, which spins out of Israel's technical university Technion, has devised a coating for 5.25 optical disks that can hold up to a terabyte of storage, according to Zohan Gendler, who runs the incubator at Technion. The incubator takes promising ideas concocted by professors, students and local entrepreneurs and turns them into companies.

The massive increase in storage (Blu-ray disks will hold 50GB while HD DVD will hold less) is a variant of holographic storage. Producing the disks, when mass manufacturing occurs, should only cost $2 to $3 dollars. The disks only need a 500 micron thick layer of the coating.

"It stores in the volume (of the material) not just the surface," he said.

The company is in initial negotiations with brand name Japanese manufacturers.

The first discs will hold 500GB and be sold to corporations for storage. Later it will move into the high definition entertainment market.

Affordable Legal Advice

From Cool Tools


Nolo Press Self-help books are written by lawyers. They give clear, no nonsense instructions on how to deal with all sorts of issues, from getting your greencard, incorporating, writing your own will or trust to buying a house. No lawyer needed! Forms are included on CD-rom, as is excellent website support. Best of all, the books clearly state if and when you should consult a real lawyer. These are tools written by lawyers who are fed up with overcharging customers and making law inaccessible through complex language. Most solutions are common sense, and Nolo tells you how to do it without breaking the bank (or the law).

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"Searcles" Social Search Launches

The social search platform Searchles was launched today at search + circles = Searchles. The site was conceived to help users connect with their friends and share their favorite websites. Searchles is a search platform centered on social groups, not individuals. Searchles will soon be integrated with the Dumbfind search engine so users will influence search results.

"Words and tags have no credibility unless they are backed up by someone you know. We created Searchles to put users in control of their search experience and to let them harness the collective brainpower of their peers," said Chris Seline, CEO and founder of Searchles and the search engine Dumbfind. "I was also tired of getting swamped with emails from friends on every subject that interested them. Now, I will just go to their profile and check out what they are doing."

The developers of Searchles have also achieved full integration with YouTube so when you tag a video from YouTube or Google Video, the video is automatically integrated into the Searchles site. Your friends won’t have to leave the site to watch your favorite videos. They are integrated directly into search results.

Here is a comprehensive list of features you will find at

- Automatic integration of YouTube and Google Videos
- Personal Flash tag clouds you can install on your MySpace page
- Create groups on any topic to share URL’s with like minded people
- Discuss URL’s with friends
- Save URL’s to Searchles that are accessible from anywhere
- Tag URL’s for easy recall
- Searchles automatically downloads documents and indexes them for maximum searchiness
- Connect with your friends and URL’s will be automatically shared

Anyone can join the New York Public Library

This may not be news to many of you, but for $100 you can obtain a non-resident New York Public Library membership that will allow you access to their available databases, e-books, audio books, and videos available for legal downloading. You do not have to physically pick up your card, they will mail it to you!

Sign up here

Peruse the available databases here

Friday, June 23, 2006

Launched - The Official Blog of Henry Jenkins

From the site:
Henry Jenkins is the Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program and the Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities. He is the author and/or editor of nine books on various aspects of media and popular culture, including Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture, Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture and From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games. His forthcoming books include Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide and Fans, Bloggers and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture.

Good stuff for us all!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

55 Ways to Have Fun with Google

55ways-coverFree download

Brilliant "Art of the Start" Presentation

Guy Kawasaki of Garage Ventures is one of my favorite entrepreneurs and in this video offers advice of value even to libraries. This will be 40 mins of the most informative fun you will have today:

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

New method for dating art prints, books

From PennState Live
A new and relatively simple method for discovering the date when centuries-old art prints and books were produced has been developed at Penn State. The method could reveal long-sought information about thousands of undated works printed on hand-operated presses before the development of modern printing methods in the mid-19th century, including works by Rembrandt and Shakespeare. "The discovery that the wood blocks and metal plates used for printmaking deteriorate at a clocklike rate means that we can now use the prints as a 'print clock' for determining the date a work was printed," said Blair Hedges, professor of biology at Penn State and author of the paper describing the research, which will be published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences.

More at the link.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

OLEDs hold promise for eBooks


Liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) are ubiquitous in everyday technology, from mobile phones and laptops to car stereos and coffee machines. But the organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display is emerging as a credible flat-panel alternative thanks to some important advantages over LCDs.

OLEDs possess the most fundamental feature needed in a display - they look great. As the name implies, OLEDs are diodes and function by injecting holes and electrons into a recombination region from which coloured light emerges. Different organic materials emit red, green, blue or other wavelengths of light, and come in small molecule and polymer form. Because they are emissive, OLEDs also have an excellent viewing angle, good contrast and high brightness.

Flexible OLEDs could be used in applications such as shop signage, electronic shelf labels, novel forms of advertising displays and even electronic books or paper. Most developers agree that even entry-level products are still at least 2-3 years away due to technical challenges, but this represents an important long-term option for OLEDs.

opera 9 released

Opera has released version 9 of their feature-laden browser and it really looks good! This latest iteration integrates tabbed browsing, thumbnail previews, integrated search, BitTorrent and much more. Plus, it's a free download!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Rethink the role of the library catalog

From TechEssence.Info

Library catalogs are at a cross-roads, and it is time to consider a new and improved vision for these tools. If the library catalog and its utility do not evolve, then the utility of a library will increasingly become irrelevant. Libraries and librarians bring a certain expertise to the acquisition, evaluation, and dissemination information. This expertise is not limited to books, journals, and videos, so why should the most significant electronic public face to a library -- its catalog -- be limited in such a way?

Much more at the link.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Wikipedia to students: Stop citing our site

From CNET News
"Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales, has asked that college students refrain from citing Wikipedia as a source of academic research.

Yes, some actually are...and then complaining to him when teachers give them failing grades for doing it.

While speaking at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, Wales said that he receives about 10 e-mails a week from complaining college students. While Wales thinks Wikipedia is useful for many things, he said that he would like to make it known that he does not recommend it to college students for serious research.

He also expressed little sympathy for any college student who would still rely on an encyclopedia for academic info. He did say, however, that Wikipedia has considered putting out a fact sheet on the site. It would explain the nature of Wikipedia and why it's not always a definitive source. Teachers could hand it out, he said.

Aside from the obvious accuracy debate, the mere nature of Wikipedia as a constantly changing open source encyclopedia goes against the purpose of academic attribution.

Wales' comments were reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education."

Thursday, June 15, 2006

From The Official Google Blog

Want to find those IRS forms to get in your taxes on time? Need to figure out where to send your DMV fees, or find the phone number for your local parks and rec department? Google U.S. Government Search launches today -- it's a site on which you can 1) search across a huge index of U.S. Federal, state and local government websites via a single search box, and 2) stay up to date through personalized content feeds from government agencies and press outlets. Off you go.

How to cheat good

An insightful and funny look at students who cheat, and cheat badly. Alex Halavais in his blog "a thaumaturgical compendium" lists suggestions that are, "almost guaranteed to pass off your plagiarism and cheating as your own work."
This will allow the faculty to remain in blissful ignorance, believing that—despite the low pay—they are spreading knowledge in the world, while at the same time convincing your parents to continue to pay for several more years of school, drunken orgies, and Prada bags. Your classmates who do not follow the above rules will constitute the “low hanging fruit,” easily picked off and tormented by mean-spirited unfulfilled teachers for their own amusement. You, however, will rise above the fray, secure in your superious ability to act smart, even if you don’t understand the text you are passing off as your own.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Free Audiobooks from BMW

A few years ago BMW released a series of acclaimed films by directors such as John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee, Tony Scott and they were quite good. This year BMW has comissioned a series of four downloadable audiobooks from Don Winslow, James Flint, Simon Kernick and Karin Slaughter. From the site:
"Put on your seatbelt and prepare for highs, lows and plenty of twists and turns. BMW, in conjunction with Random House, brings you BMW Audio Books, a unique series of specially- commissioned short stories showcasing the work of some of the finest contemporary writing talent. Each gripping audio book is yours to download for free. Listen to them on your MP3 player, your laptop or ideally, in the car. So sit back, hit play and enjoy the ride."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

From Popgadget via Boing Boing

This is straight out of a science fiction movie, but if they can actually make it come true, it may be extremely useful. This Fukuda’s Automatic Door fits like a glove, and opens just enough to fit the exact shape of the person or the object that’s passing through. Its motion-detecting portal saves energy by keeping a door from having to open and close all the way, which helps to maintain a stable temperature in a room, and can prevent dirt or other materials from entering. In addition to people, this sci-fi door can be used to accommodate objects large and small, like packages dropped off at a post office, or even a car coming through a garage door. And, it will be most useful for people who are handicapped or can’t manage to open and close the doors very easily.

It’s still in prototype mode right now in Japan. You can check it out at , but it’s in Japanese only.

Amazon, Plastic Logic and the end of e-Books

From The Cambridge Evening News
Amazon, the world's biggest bookseller, is in talks with Cambridge company, Plastic Logic, about the end of books as we know them.

Plastic Logic has come up with the ultimate in e-books, overcoming the problem of reading an inflexible page on a screen - something which was never going to usurp the traditional book.

News of the Amazon/Plastic Logic link was given to a Cambridge audience on Thursday night when Hermann Hauser delivered the RSA Lecture at Magdalene College.

His theme was: "What makes a good entrepreneur" and one of Cambridge's hottest entrepreneurial endeavours at the moment is Plastic Logic, which is making microchips cheap as chips by printing them with plastic ink as opposed to etching in silicon.

"The reason why Amazon doesn't sell e-books at the moment is because people don't like reading on a screen, but now they can curl up with an e-book," Dr Hauser said.

This past week, Plastic Logic has been showing off its new product concepts at a trade show in San Francisco, under the heading 'Life is Flexible'.

All the concepts incorporate PL's radical new flexible display technology, and, in the company's words: "They illustrate the inevitable transformation we will see in everyday products as a result of plastic electronics over the next decade."

More at the link.

RuBee protocol overcomes RFID shortcomings

From Endgadget

The IEEE has just tasked a working group with finalizing the specs on the so-called RuBee protocol, which uses magnetic -- as opposed to radio -- signals in order to transfer information, making it useful for so-called "harsh environments" where RFID chips fail, such as retail locations where shoplifters line their bags with aluminum foil to fool anti-theft systems. While RuBee's similar transmission range and cost would make it seem like a no-brainer replacement for current RFID applications, its relatively slow speed makes it unsuitable for tracking the numerous, moving products in a typical warehouse. RuBee-enabled devices will also have the advantage of transmitting data directly to the Internet, and with backers like Sony, HP, IBM, Best Buy, and Tesco, you can bet that we'll be hearing more about this tech in the coming year.

Google SketchUp Launched

Google announced today an update to their popular Google Earth software as well as the release of their 3D software SketchUp which integrates with Google Earth.

From the site:
Adding a deck? Remodeling your kitchen? From simple to detailed, conceptual to realistic, Google SketchUp (free) lets you populate the world with true 3D objects. Want to build a fully dimensioned 3D model that can be used as the basis for your next do-it-yourself project? Google SketchUp's expanded feature lets you build in as much detail as your project requires.

Google SketchUp is free for personal use. No registration is required.

Friday, June 09, 2006

House rejects Net neutrality rules

From ZDNet

The U.S. House of Representatives definitively rejected the concept of Net neutrality on Thursday, dealing a bitter blow to Internet companies like, eBay and Google that had engaged in a last-minute lobbying campaign to support it.

By a 269-152 vote that fell largely along party lines, the House Republican leadership mustered enough votes to reject a Democrat-backed amendment that would have enshrined stiff Net neutrality regulations into federal law and prevented broadband providers from treating some Internet sites differently from others. More at the above link.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Sorry. I published this on the wrong blog (meant for my family blog) but I'll leave it here, too. These were great!This year, for the first time, we planted "heirloom" tomatoes - tomatoes from seeds your grandfather might have grown. I can't tell you how wonderful these are! So sweet and flavorful. On the left is a "Purple Giant" and on the right is a "Rainbow".

These are the two large tomatoes mentioned above and a salad sized "Tommy-toe" and a yellow grape variety. Delicious! You gotta love Summer and the tomatoes it brings!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Google Browser Sync for Firefox

Google Browser Sync, free for download in beta from Google Labs, allows users to synchronize Firefox settings over multiple computers. Bookmarks, passwords, histories, and even persistent cookie preferences for specific sites are transferred, so that users don't have to spend time tediously adding them to each computer on which they use Firefox. Google Browser Sync can also "remember" which tabs and windows were open at last use, and "reopen" them when you open Firefox on another computer.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Google "Spreadsheet"

Starting this morning (June 6) you can sign up for an invitation to join "Google Spreadsheets", an on-line servbice that will allow you to:

Create basic spreadsheets from scratch.
You can start from scratch and do all the basics, including changing the number format, sorting by columns, and adding formulas.

Upload your spreadsheet files.
Upload spreadsheets or worksheets from CSV or XLS format – all your formulas and formatting will come across intact.

Familiar desktop feel makes editing a breeze.
Just click the toolbar buttons to bold, underline, change the font, change the cell background color and more. (...)

Choose who can access your spreadsheets.
Just enter the email addresses of the people you want to share a given document, and then send them a message.

Share documents instantly.
People with whom you share a given spreadsheet can access it as soon as they sign in.

Edit with others in real time.
Multiple people can edit or view your spreadsheet at the same time as you – their names will appear in an on-screen chat window.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The User Is Not Broken

From The Free Range Librarian via The Shifted Librarian

The User Is Not Broken: A meme masquerading as a manifesto

Launched after a discussion with a passionate young librarian who cares. Please challenge, change, add to, subtract from, edit, tussle with, and share these thoughts.


All technologies evolve and die. Every technology you learned about in library school will be dead someday.

You fear loss of control, but that has already happened. Ride the wave.

You are not a format. You are a service.

The OPAC is not the sun. The OPAC is at best a distant planet, every year moving farther from the orbit of its solar system.

The user is the sun.

The user is the magic element that transforms librarianship from a gatekeeping trade to a services profession.

The user is not broken.

Your system is broken until proven otherwise.

That vendor who just sold you the million-dollar system because "librarians need to help people" doesn't have a clue what he's talking about, and his system is broken, too.

Most of your most passionate users will never meet you face to face.

Most of your most alienated users will never meet you face to face.

The most significant help you can provide your users is to add value and meaning to the information experience, wherever it happens; defend their right to read; and then get out of the way.

Your website is your ambassador to tomorrow's taxpayers. They will meet the website long before they see your building, your physical resources, or your people.

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than to find a library website that is usable and friendly and provides services rather than talking about them in weird library jargon.

Information flows down the path of least resistance. If you block a tool the users want, users will go elsewhere to find it.

You cannot change the user, but you can transform the user experience to meet the user.

Meet people where they are--not where you want them to be.

The user is not "remote." You, the librarian, are remote, and it is your job to close that gap.

The average library decision about implementing new technologies takes longer than the average life cycle for new technologies.

If you are reading about it in Time and Newsweek and your library isn't adapted for it or offering it, you're behind.

Stop moaning about the good old days. The card catalog sucked, and you thought so at the time, too.

If we continue fetishizing the format and ignoring the user, we will be tomorrow's cobblers.

We have wonderful third places that offer our users a place where they can think and dream and experience information. Is your library a place where people can dream?

Your ignorance will not protect you.

Google Synonym Suggested

From Google Blogscoped

David Coallier has created an interesting prototype for a new kind of search he wants to see Google implement; a real-time synonyms search. For example, you enter “war” in the search box, and instantly you’ll see a list of synonyms or related terms (like “battle”, “crusade” and “campaign”). It’s a bit of a mixture between Google’s synonyms operator (the “~”), and Google Suggest’s auto-completion.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Digg-like site to track Creative Commons music

From Boing Boing

CChits is a web-app meant to help people find and share cool music that's been released under Creative Commons licenses. It's built on Ning, a site that makes it easy to clone and customize web applications; in this case, CChits clones the popular link-sharing site Digg.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

eBook Users Survey

from Library Marketing

Here is a link to a downloadable PDF of an eBook Users Survey (PDF) conducted by the International Digital Publishing Forum. The survey delves into 3 areas: Past eBook Experience, eBook Features and Suggested Improvements. The researchers appeared to target eBook users in that they sent invitations to customers of major eBook retail sites, so it's perhaps no surprise that 82% have purchased an eBook in the past month. However, even though many respondents complain about the high prices of eBooks, only 8% borrowed an eBook from a library in the last month. Also, I was a bit surprised to find that a large majority of respondents (79%) prefer to read their eBooks on Personal Digital Devices like Palms. The main improvements suggested in the survey to increase eBook use and satisfaction are lower prices, more selection and interoperability between eBook devices and software.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Future of the internet

From the WSJ
In the past 10 years the Internet has emerged as a global network that enables instant communications and borderless commerce. The popularity of blogs and the roll out of high-speed wireless connections have already begun to reshape the Web, but what will the Internet look like a decade from now?

The Wall Street Journal Online invited Web pioneer Vint Cerf and tech pundit Esther Dyson to discuss what they expect in the next 10 years. Mr. Cerf envisions an interplanetary network, while Ms. Dyson ponders a loss of privacy and an information glut. Their conversation, carried out by email, is at the link.

"I think you'll see a fundamental shift in the balance of power towards individuals. Individuals will declare what kinds of vendors they want sponsoring their content, and then those vendors will have the privilege of appearing, discreetly, around the user's content. There will be much less "advertising" and much more communication to interested customers. Advertisers will have to learn to listen, not just to track and segment customers. So the message to marketers is...

... If you can't sell your product (assuming it's already in the market), fix the product! Don't try to change the situation by advertising."