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.