Thursday, April 29, 2010

The most highlited passages on the Kindle

The Amazon Kindle, Kindle for iPhone and Kindle for iPad each provide a very simple mechanism for adding highlights. Every month, Kindle customers highlight millions of book passages that are meaningful to them.

Amazon combines the highlights of all Kindle customers and identifies the passages with the most highlights. The resulting Popular Highlights help readers to focus on passages that are meaningful to the greatest number of people. They show only passages where the highlights of at least three distinct customers overlap, and do not show which customers made those highlights.

There is also a section identifying the most heavily highlighted passages and books of all time.

You can peruse the results at this link.

Can the IPad or the Kindle Save Book Publishers?

Terry Gross interviews Ken Auletta, author of the article Publish or Perish : Can the IPad topple the Kindle, and save the book business? published in The New Yorker, for NPR's program Fresh Air. He discusses the pricing structure agreement between book publishers and Apple that has changed Amazon's pricing structure, the effects of e-books on independent book stores, e-book rights and Google activities.

A lovely collection of only the worst Sci-fi/Fantasy covers

Good Show Sir offers an extensive collection of "only the worst Sci-fi/Fantasy book covers". Some are absolutely hilarious, many are disturbing and almost always leave you with a "what were they thinking" look on your face.

The site is heavily commented and the comments are often more entertaining than the cover, itself. The covers can be rated and each one is tagged. Covers are collected from all over the world and reader submissions are encouraged. Worth a look! Below are a few less offensive offerings. Click to enlarge.

Found at Coudal Partners

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Virtual tour of Anne Frank's house

The Anne Frank Museum has launched a virtual tour of the house (video above) where the diarist hid from the Nazis during World War II. The reconstruction shows the Amsterdam house as it was over 60 years ago, and has a bunch of extra features, including text and films to show the teenager's incarceration as it was.

Found at Fast Company

The State of Web Development 2010

click to enlarge

Letters of Note

Curated by Shaun Usher, who also maintains the Letterheady collection of wonderful letterheads I blogged about last week, Letters of Note is a blog-based archive of fascinating correspondence, complete with scans and transcripts of the original missives.

The site is mesmerizing, excellently maintained and well worth browsing!

From a note from Frances Coppola offering Lee Marvin a job in Apocalypse Now....

To notification of a Nobel Prize...

To a letter of premarital terms from Amelia Earhart:

A wonderful video tour of Cambridge University's Parker Library.

Cambridge University's Parker Library holds more than 550 documents - including the 6th Century St Augustine Gospels, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the earliest history written in English.

There is a wonderful short video of the holdings and some enlightening commentary by librarian Suzanne Paul over at the BBC.

A 300 sq ft apartment with 24 rooms. Amazing!

A friend (thanks, John!) shared this with me this morning and I found it so fascinating that I felt it needed to be shared here. For a long time I have been fascinated by the concept of tiny houses. There is something about their simple elegance that appeals to me and they certainly have a smaller environmental footprint. (You can also build a much "nicer" house when you build smaller.)

Gary Chang, the architect behind the amazing dwelling featured above, has opened my eyes to even more possibilities. I had seen reconfigurable dwellings before, but his innovations have given me a lot to ponder.

There is a nice NYT article on the project with a collection of photos that are worth viewing - a couple are below, more at the link.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nice collection of J.G. Ballard covers

James Graham Ballard (15 November 1930 – 19 April 2009) was an English novelist, short story writer, and prominent member of the New Wave movement in science fiction. His best-known books are Crash (1973), adapted into a film by David Cronenberg, and the semi-autobiographical Empire of the Sun (1984), made into a film by Steven Spielberg, based on Ballard's boyhood in the International Settlement and internment by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War.

His book's covers were always colorful and controversial. There is a great collection here.

Rick McGrath, writer and curator of what may be the largest collection of J.G. Ballard first editions in the world offers some very interesting commentary and insight into these covers over at BALLARDIAN.

Found over at Coudal Partners

Every painting in the MoMA on April 10, 2010 in 2 minutes

The Book Seer

Just type in your most recent read and The Book Seer will recommend similar titles from Amazon and Library Thing.

Mister Bookseller by Darco Macan

As usual from Darko and friends, beautifully drawn and exquisitely told - a delightful story from a bookshop.
Click to view the entire comic.

THe Beauty of Maps

The BBC has launched a fascinating and highly illuminating site featuring browser display techniques that allow one to browse in detail five of the world's most beautiful old maps and explore their secrets.

Waking up in the same place every morning is boring.

Winscape employs two HD plasma televisions, a Macintosh and some custom software to transport you to any place you care to be. The key to the system is the software that uses a Wii-like controller to monitor your position relative to the images and adjust the image perspective to give you an accurate "through the window" view. Pretty amazing and one more example of just when you thought you had seen it all......

The Government Printing Office, 1910.

I am sure there is a pithy comment that could be made regarding this pic, but I'll just let it speak for itself.

click the image for hi-res

More on The Rolex Learning Center for the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne

A few weeks ago I blogged about the beautiful new library that has opened in Lausanne, Switzerland – The Rolex Learning Center for the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), shown above and at this link.

The one photo I couldn't find was one of the library's "stacks", and almost assumed there may be none. I was wrong, as the incredible photo below shows: (actually a reader has corrected me.... this is a concept for the Stockholm Library and NOT a part of the Rolex Center.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The End of Gears

This article from ReadWriteWeb documents Google's move from plug-in support to HTML5 support. It's not just built in browser compliance, there's more! Take a look at the video on the Google Enterprise Blog. Wow! Drawings and great changes to spreadsheet and documents!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Alternative To

Also from Computers in Libraries 2010 is this interesting site of other options, Alternative To. Here you can experience a new approach to finding good software. Tell them what application you want to replace and they'll give you great alternatives, based on user recommendations. I'm not attending CIL, just following along. This looks like a very useful site. Cool.

Darien Library and SOPAC

At Computers in Libraries 2010, John Blyberg discussed the shareware software he created that he calls SOPAC, which is based on Drupal. The SOPAC is designed around the concept of a social online catalog. The library's collection is presented online and built around the community, which includes patrons and library staff.

John's library site,, for Darien Library, is a wonderful example of SOPAC. Some of the features I enjoy the most are the excellent use of community tags and the community created reviews. Library Staff periodically tag books they like with "staff favorites" and the reader's advisor group tags "Meet us on Main Street", so everyone can keep up with what books are being discussed. In addition, John has tied in the sorting ability to circulation counts so that one can sort by most circulated "Popular", or by community review ratings.

The catalog and the community built around it are always integrated on the site: a wonderful example of contemporary attempts to merge community with library collections.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Alice for the iPad

Here's another example of how the iPad is redefining the concept of a "book". This clever app makes use of the iPad's accelerometer to create an interactive reading experience.

Friday, April 09, 2010

A delightful collection of letterheads

Letterheady is an online homage to offline correspondence; specifically letters and even more specifically. letterhead. The site offers 16 pages of wonderful letterheads from a time when letters were actually written and mailed and not simply emailed. Delightful!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Performance comparison of web browsers

Click to enlarge

The Westbury Book Exchange

Westbury, in Somerset, England boasts the world's smallest library. The bright red old phone booth was purchased for just 1 pound and remodeled as the smallest library in the world. Residents line up to swap their already read books for new ones left by other patrons. Over 100 books and a variety of movies and music CDs are available at this tiny library.

in B Flat collaborative music project

In Bb 2.0 is a collaborative music and spoken word project conceived by Darren Solomon from Science for Girls, and developed with contributions from users.

The videos can be played simultaneously -- the soundtracks will work together, and the mix can be adjusted with the individual volume sliders.

iPhone to get multi-tasking

Apple Inc.'s iPhone and iPad devices will soon be able to run more than one program at a time, an ability that phones from Apple's rivals already offer and that iPhone owners have long coveted.

Coming this summer to iPhones and this fall to iPads, these changes mean that users will be able to listen to music through the Pandora program and check a bank account online simultaneously. Currently, users must quit the open program, before starting a new task.

"We weren't the first to this party, but we're going to be the best," Apple CEO Steve Jobs declared Thursday, as bloggers, software developers and others in the audience greeted the news of such "multitasking" with applause.

"It really changes the way you use the iPhone," Jobs said. "You're bouncing around the apps with tremendous fluidity."

The updates will be available to all iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad models, the multitasking function will only work with the newest devices. So you won't be able to run multiple programs with the original iPhone or the iPhone 3G — only the 3GS versions that came out last summer. For the iPod Touch, you'd need the models that came out late last year.

Full multitasking had been high on many people's wish lists. Because Apple's new iPad runs the same software as the iPhone, changes would apply to that larger gadget as well. Some people have held off buying one because of its inability to run more than one program at once.

60 very clever minimalist logos

Your logo is that one piece of visual branding that captures the image of your company and conveys it into one small package. Depending on the flavor of your business, they may appear big and flashy, bold and colorful or just plain simple and clever. Blufaqs offers a entertaining and very, very clever collection.

100 Epic Images from the Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope, named after astronomer Edwin Hubble and launched into space in 1990, has since taken almost 200,000 pictures of the Universe which have been released to the public.

Coolvibe offers 100 epic images from various collections.

The Centered Librarian touches 82 different countries!

Everywhere you see green, we have readers!

How Rock Bands Got Their Names

I never knew the "M.G" in Booker T. and the M.G.s stood for "Memphis Group", or that Steely Dan came from a William Burroughs reference to a sexual appliance in "Naked Lunch". And who Knew that UB40 got their name from the British Unemployment Benefit Form UB40 that you fill out to go "on the dole." lists the origins of a couple of hundred names of bands we all know. A very interesting read!

Monday, April 05, 2010

A beutiful collection of Stan Galli's illustrations for Weyerhaeuser.

A beutiful collection of Stan Galli's illustrations for Weyerhaeuser. More available here.

Found at Coudal Partners

Friday, April 02, 2010

500+ Marvel Comics coming to the iPad

Marvel Entertainment has launched an app for the iPad that offers easy access to over 500 comic books, including Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Hulk and Thor. According to Marvel CEO, Dan Buckley,
"The iPad is the first device that offers us a chance to present digital comics that are even close to replicating the experience of reading a print comic," trumpeted Buckley.

"Fans will be granted unrivaled access to Marvel's rich library of comics, with launch titles ranging from the first appearances of characters such as Spider-Man and the X-Men to modern classics like the debut of Red Hulk, Jonathan Hickman's acclaimed Fantastic Four run, Joss Whedon & John Cassaday's Astonishing X-Men and lots more.
To further enhance the mobile reading experience on the iPad, the Marvel Comics App features multiple viewing modes, taking readers panel-by-panel through the comic book in a smooth, action-packed progression using just the swipe of a finger."

Penguin Decades Covers shaped modern Britain

Penguin Decades were the novels that helped shape modern Britain. Some were best sellers, some were considered scandalous, and others were simply misunderstood. All represent their time and helped define their generation. The site has a wonderful collection of covers and synopses. The books are also available for purchase.