Blake's blog

I Am A Blog Person

I Am A Blog Person

I am a member of a unique subculture of unpublishable writers. I keep an electronic diary called a blog. My goals are simple, to help the triumph of hope and boosterism over reality. My work (and I use that term loosely) is untrammeled by editors or the rules of grammar. Further, I am a member of the subclass of bloggers who are interested in computers and the glorification of information. This subclass firmly believes no opinion that comes from someone who is "antidigital" could possibly be correct. We further believe those people should be placed in a virtual pillory to be pelted with blogs.

When I write, I use a notoriously inefficient search engine to find thousands of irrelevant documents that only reinforce my limited world view. These heaps of irrelevance are returned in no very useful order, but no matter, because I can find my heaps in nanoseconds. Because my intellectual needs are met by an accumulation of random facts and paragraphs, I find I need nothing more than random bits of information I can partially reassemble and speedily deliver to other technology-obsessed progressives via my blog.

The thought of reading a scholarly book, or any printed matter, makes me cringe. I have a fanatical belief in the transforming power of digitization and a consequent horror of, and contempt for, heretics who do not share that belief. Given the quality of my writing, it should be obvious I am not habit of sustained reading of complex texts. I read what I want to read rather than what is in front of me and I shall judge those who I believe to be wrong on the basis of what I think rather than what they actually say or write.

Help Pay For LISNews in '05

This year, LISNews will celebrate 6 years of covering the wide world of "librarian and information science news." This year, I'm once again asking for some help paying the $180 a month I must pay keep LISNews running.

Since November 1999 I've worked hard to make LISNews an interesting and fun place to catch up on the latest happenings in the wide world of libraries and information science. Since then, I've been joined by countless other who've volunteered their time to make LISNews what it is today. LISNews has always been an expensive hobby, so I'm hoping you'll be able to help me cover some of the costs of hosting.

LISNews sits on a dedicated server in the EV1 datacenter in Texas, for which I pay about $180 a month. My goal this year is the same as last, to raise enough money (by asking for donations from the LISNews readership, and via the text ads) to have LISNews break even. The ads you see only cover about 30% of my costs, some days are better than others, but it averages out to around 30% erso.

For a few years LISNews sat on a big shared (Sun OS) server at Pegasus Web Hosting. At only $20 a month I covered the cost of running LISNews myself. We eventually out grew that server (more accurately they threw us off because we were too busy). So in December of 2002, I moved LISNews to a dedicated server. My idea at the time was I'd host LISNews, and, to help defray the rather high cost, sell space to a few other folks to cover as much of the $180 a month as I could. That idea did actually work. It worked a little too well, so I needed to move everyone off the LISNews server, and leave LISNews alone once again. It turns out Slashcode does not play nice with Apache2, RHEL, the new mod_perl, and whatever else is other sites might bring. Long story short, Slashcode does not play well with others. So that left me paying for the LISNews server by myself again.

So, you can help by sending me a buck or 2 via pay pal (There's a "Make A Donation" button over there are the left side this, and most other pages), or if you'd rather send me a check just ask for my new address.

Writers read, and, writers write.

I finally got my hands on Eats, Shoots & Leaves. I haven't started reading it yet (need to finish The Restaurant at the End of The Universe first), but I'm really looking forward to picking up a few tips.

Here's something that probably obvious already, I'm not a very good writer. I'm also not a very talented editor. There are many days when writing is just down right painful. I don't think my sentences flow, and I don't think I have good "voice." To make matters worse, I don't think I understand the rules of grammar enough to be a really talented writer.

I was thinking about why it's so hard to be a good writer (a really good writer), and trying to figure out why so many people struggle with writing. I read good writers all the time. I read several newspapers (online) every day, most every night I read at least a couple pages of a well written book before I fall asleep. I read at least 30 or 40 articles written by professional journalists every day. I am exposed to thousands of well formed sentences with perfect punctuation, spelling and grammar a week in some form or another. But for some reason all that talent and all those good examples just don't stick. Writing, it seems, is just a tricky business, good writing takes real effort (at least for me) and, unfortunately reading good writing doesn't seem to automatically lead to being a talented writer.

I always wonder how often good writers have to rewrite something. I know if I don't reread things I've written at least twice I end up with a jumble of incomplete thoughts connected by random punctuation. For something to be marginally well put together I need to spend some real time with my writing. I've reread and rewritten this piece at least a dozen times and I bet I still missed at least 2 mistakes. Writing can't be this hard for everyone, can it? I have a feeling those at the top of the writing bell curve don't need to do quite as much editing, they let the words fall out of their talented heads and on to the page as if by magic. The sentences flow into each other and a complete story is told with less effort than it takes me to write a paragraph. Me, I often struggle with every sentence. But when they do come together, when things make sense, when I don't write a single sentence with 4 or even 5 commas (or add a parenthetical thought for no reason), it's worth it, it just feels good. To be able to put something together that involved more than a few sentences is a major accomplishment, to be able to put together an entire book is just an amazing accomplishment.

Me right pretty, won day. (Thanks two spell check, the won thing eye don't need too worry about is spelling.)

Privacy

The LISNews privacy policy is quite simple:
No one ever gets any of your information for any reason ever. I will never sell you email address, name or anything else you provide.
There's never been anything to opt-out of because you never opted in. No matter how strong the temptation is to sell you out, I won't do it. I don't care if I'm living in a box and my family is starving, they can have the 4,000 or so LISNews email addresses when they pry them from my cold dead fingers.

Contrast this with an unnamed company that just sold me out:

When you [do business with us in any way] we may include your name in our e-mail mailing lists. We use this information for marketing and promotional purposes to occasionally notify you of [our] products and services we think will interest you. We may also share this information with companies we believe will extend you offers of interest.
If you don't wish to receive such notifications and offers, you can request to be removed from our mailing lists.
[here's the part that just made my head spin]
We will seek to advise any companies or other third parties to whom we provide e-mail mailing list information to follow similar privacy policies. However, we cannot assume any responsibility for any actions or policies of these third parties.

I don't need to add any pointless "in other words" or "how could they" or any other statements of outrage here, I think it's obvious. They sold me out and take no responsibility for their actions. What's not so obvious is they also sold my home address and I can only assume my phone number, though I've yet to get a call.

Should I Pay To Present @ LITA?

This is one of those good news / bad news posts.
Good news:

On behalf of the LITA Forum Planning Committee, I am pleased to notify you that your proposal for a program at the 2005 LITA National Forum in San Jose, CA, "LISNews: Collaborative Open Source Librarian News", has been accepted as a concurrent session. Please reply to this message

Bad news:

LITA can't pay travel or lodging for concurrent session presenters. Presenters are also expected to register for the forum, albeit at a discounted rate.

Worse news:
Work won't pay for me to go. So that means I'll need to spend (I'm guessing) $800 to present at LITA.

So my question, for those who are wise in the ways of conferences.... If you were me, would you do it? Money is an issue, but this won't send me into bankruptcy or anything close.

LISNews Numbers for 02-2005

I almost forgot it's a new month!


Total Sessions       256,581.00
Total Pageviews       994,144.00
Total Hits       2,345,569.00
Total Bytes Transferred      25.81 GB
Average Sessions Per Day       9,163.61
Average Pageviews Per Day       35,505.14
Average Hits Per Day      83,770.32
Average Bytes Transferred Per Day       943.99 MB
Average Pageviews Per Session       3.87
Average Hits Per Session       9.14
Average Bytes Per Session       105.49 KB
Average Length of Session       00:10:13

Busiest authors:Blake : 208
Rochelle : 96
birdie : 27
Daniel : 9
Samantha : 4
Ryan : 4
John : 4

Bibliofuture : 4
Louise : 3
Brian : 1
Bill Drew : 1
Mock Turtle : 1
Authors hits per story:Bill Drew : 716.00
John : 608.25
Samantha : 476.25

birdie : 459.85
Brian : 441.00
Bibliofuture : 386.25
Rochelle : 348.67
Blake : 348.17
Ryan : 334.50
Daniel : 254.67
Mock Turtle : 217.00
Louise : 167.00

Total number of comments: 975
Total number of commentors: 93
Busiest commentors:GregS* : 94
Anonymous Patron : 88
twistedlibrarian : 82
Blake : 54
Walt : 48

mdoneil : 48
kylere : 44
Curmudgeony : 42
Rochelle : 36
Daniel : 29
Total number of stories: 362
Total number of submissions: 367

Total number of metamoderations: 1119
Total Fair: 1091
Total Unfair: 28
Total number of moderations: 654
--Total up: 563

--Total down: 42
--Funny: 20
Average score of moderated comments: 1.7372
Comments with a score of 5: 16
Comments with a score of 4: 32

Comments with a score of 3: 76
Comments with a score of 2: 215
Comments with a score of 1: 558
Comments with a score of less than 0: 12
Number of journal entries: 126
Number of journal comments: 125

Most prolific journalors:18 : Durst
16 : slashgirl
11 : Bibliofuture
11 : Daniel
11 : Walt
10 : twistedlibrarian
8 : Blake
7 : mdoneil

5 : nbruce
5 : GregS*
Number of people who logged in: 234
Total number of user accounts: 3903

MS Word Regular Expressions

I've used Microsoft Word almost everyday for the past 7 or 8 years and only last week learned you can use Regular Expressions in the Find & Replace. I asked around a bit and it seems like not many other folks know about this, so I share in the hopes that it will bring some joy to your miserable and empty life, like it did to mine.

It's surprisingly useful and rather powerful, though it ain't PERL by a long shot, it got the job done for me, and I've written so many this week I'm now better with Word Regexs than I am with "real" expressions. Here's the Help File courtesy of MSFT.

The hard part, for me at least, was figuring out how to build variables, I found the help example to be rather cryptic. The trick is to group your "find whats" by using parathesis. Each group then becomes a number in your "replace withs", e.g.
([1-9])(\#)([1-9]) in the "find whats"
\1-\3 in the "replace withs."
In this case it looks for a # surrounded by numbers, it then replaces the # with a -
/1 being the first number found, /3 being the third, /2 is the # but since I want that gone, it's not in the "replace withs."

So there you have it, Word has regular expressions. Not sure why they don't drop all this into Excel, which seems to have a limited subset of the regexs.

I've also had the opportunity to do some Visual Basic programming for the first time this week. That also ain't so bad. It's just different enough from Perl/PHP/Etc… to really confuse me, so it's been slow going, but it's fun to learn something new.

Dearest search-engines-web.com

You Know Who writes "We can take a hint!This controversy is probably never going to stop.

This issue has come up before, both in public and on the authors only list. I almost always change it to 'Mysterious Search Engine person' or something similar.

future posts will now be limited to only the Wireless and Geeks Directories, which appear to be appreciated, and working out very, very well... so far.... (and no, these postings have had no effect on Search engine web.com rankings - ALGOs are NOW, MUCH, MUCH MORE COMPLEX than that)"

Dearest search-engines-web.com,That was not a hint. There are at least 350 stories in the LISNews archives from you. Just because some people have a problem with you doesn't mean we all do, and since I post most of what you submit my opinion should matter more than others in this case.
I, for one, welcome your submissions, whatever your motives might be. The stories you submit are often things I'd never have thought to post and are a welcome addition. You may be unappreciated by others, but don't think for one second I don't appreciate you!

-Sincerly
Blake

On Blogging and Progress

I spent some time reading some of the "A List" blogs this week and I was surprised at just how incestuous, repetitive, unoriginal and just plain useless & boring they are. If this is the group of people who are revolutionizing the Media, we're all in trouble. Most of them are just yelling about the same garbage I'd expect to hear on talk radio or see on TV. The "reporting" I saw was mostly just a quick copy and paste from "legacy media" sites. That's not to say everything on every site fit this pattern, I just had to really dig for anything original or with much depth.

I don't see the same thing in the librarian blogosphere (I hate that word). From what I've seen we tend to be much more civilized and perhaps more original than the "A Listers." I've been spending more time reading the library blogs lately thanks to the new & improved LISFeeds. There is some real good readin' and writin' out there, I really like what I see. I like the voices, I like the styles, and I like the content. In doing so I also tried to take a look at what I've been posting to the LISNews home page. I think maybe it could use some work. It feels a bit stagnant. I've been doing the same ol' thing for years now with little change to my style or subject matter. My QuickLinks posts are one example of what I'm trying to bring some new ideas to our little site. It's certainly not an original, earth shattering idea, but it's something different for me. I guess my point is, I'm trying new things and hoping for new ideas on ways I can make LISNews more interesting. This only applies to me, I have no problems with what the other authors are doing. One of the big reasons I so often beg for new authors is to keep things fresh and interesting.

I've also recently tried 2 new things that I've been putting off for what seems like an eternity. News alerts via email (I'm using Google) and using an Aggregator on a regular basis. The new alerts are a big success, I'm finding some great stuff I'd otherwise have missed. I was always afraid I'd be overwhelmed, buried in a tidal wave of news alerts. That hasn't happened. It's an entirely new way to find new stuff and I'm really loving it. On the other hand, using the aggregator just isn't working for me. I just don't care about what's being written on blogs enough to worry about following more than a couple sites. Call me a curmudgeon if you must, but using a feed reader just doesn't fit in with the way I'm currently using the web. I tried a few different programs, and couple different sites, and I even tried using a couple of other aggregators set up by other people, and nothing catches my attention for long. I can see how it's a nice way to do things, but it doesn't work for me.

On ombudsmen, feedback and reporting

I caught an interesting Connection Show the other day where Dick talked with the NPR ombudsman, Jeffrey Dvorkin. NPR has like 30 million listeners a week! They are hiring new people and expanding and growing (thanks to some new grants and funding) while most other media outlets are shrinking and consolidating.

The discussion was largely about feedback, and how the ombudsman position functions within NPR. I felt they talked about allowing feedback like it's some kind of novelty. I thought this was odd because LISNews is completely open. We get feed back on every story instantly, along with email, and the contact us form, we're an open book. There's not really any need for an ombudsman.

They brought up a number of interesting points I couldn't help but think about in relation to what we do here @LISNews.

They say that they've tried to broaden what they report on and try to make it news for the people. National Public Radio is supposed to be for the Public rather than corporations and shareholders.

Who has influence on the media these days? Ask 10 people and you'll get 5 different answers, the callers during this show were no exception. "It's obviously the conservatives." "The entire industry is all a bunch of liberals."

They mentioned how they get their expert opinions. Think Tanks make their people available and have a huge influence on what they report on. While Academics are hard to track down and get on the air. While I'm sure think tanks fall all over themselves to get mentioned anywhere, I found it hard to believe it's hard to find a professor that wouldn't make time to speak to a few million people.

The really amusing thing was the complaints from callers. One caller complained NPR is too liberal, the other complained they're too conservative. How can they answer that? It's such a subjective thing I realized. So many people on both sides are so dumb, angry and loud it's really impossible for them to know how they're doing based on most of the feedback they get. They mentioned they thought how people judge what is reported can be framed largely by what those people believe the direction of the world is taking Most people only want to hear their own opinions reflected back to them. Sort of like Cass Sunstein’s "law of group polarization", "when like-minded people deliberate as an organized group, the general opinion shifts toward extreme versions of their common beliefs"? They wanted to present not just one perspective or one audience, but rather cover multiple sides, and this is guaranteed to offend.

An interesting point was news organizations are only really responsible to their shareholders, but not their audience, or if they are it's indirect. That leads to bias, and sensationalism. I'm not sure for-profit corporations always perform most effectively in all industries. I'm also not sure what a workable alternative would be in most cases, but NPR seems pretty decent most of the time in the media arena. This is one reason I'm happy that we're not supported by ads at this point here @LISNews. The Google ads pay for a little less than half of the cost of hosting LISNews, and since I have no control over what ads show up, I need not worry about offending our advertisers.

Some interesting comments on language and how things are framed and repeated from news outlets influences how people hear a story. They mentioned the need to be more skeptical and tougher on news sources. Reporters need to be skeptical, careful of words and phrases from any sources. This, of course, takes time and money, is the competition between media outlets to blame? Is the rush to be first with a story blinding news outlets to the propaganda they repeat from think tanks and spokespeople? Things need to be tested and challenged they said repeatedly.

An interesting phrase was "Citizens first and listeners second." They say when they choose what to report they choose to inform the readers, because their job is not to deliver ears to advertisers, but rather report and then let people decide. NPR is important because (they said) it's reliable and not ad driven, it serves it's listeners.

They mentioned how they seek to put things in context, to make useful news available and really explain it well.

So how can we make LISNews better? What issues can we report on? Who do we need to challenge what we post? Do we need an ombudsman? Do blogs need ombudsman?

Weather, AP and Internet Killed the Radio Star

1.) We finally got above freezing in Buffalo. It's been an odd winter (though I think can say that every year) it was 68 a month ago, then it went well below zero with a decent snowfall for a few weeks, and then the snow turned off, and the sun came out. It didn't warm up much until yesterday, and even then it was just a speck above freezing, but that week of freezing cold & bright sunshine just confused me.

2.) In case you missed it, Anonymous patron is turned back on. Not much action, which I suppose is a good thing. We'll see how that goes and reevaluate the situation at the end of the month. So far the comments have been so-so at best.

3.) I was less that excited when I head about Greg's MP3 radio show but finally broke down and had a listen last night. I was pleasantly surprised! I highly recommend you have a listen to both One and Two. I also highly recommend Karen's as well. Reminds me of the good ol' days when Slashdot still did Geeks in Space. Funny how this radio thing has become trendy again now that someone gave it a new name. Maybe someone wants to do and LISNews show?

Library Trends

Karen Schneider had sent out a call for comment on trends that would impact our world in the coming years, this was my response.

The private sector: More than ever libraries, especially public and academic, are in competition with the private sector. We compete for time, attention and money, and are increasingly out manned, out funded and out PR'd. We compete with the obvious, things like Google, Questia and Amazon, and the maybe not so obvious, like BookCrossing, Blogs, and Orkut. People have an endless number of options for education, information and entertainment now.

Google scanning project: A technology project from the private sector that I think will have a lasting effect on most libraries. Google in general is increasingly encroaching into domains we've been masters of for as long as libraries have been the central repository for printed knowledge. Not just google, but search engines in general need to be watched. Now we have things like desktop search, picasa and all that other stuff, information is being stored digitally, and organized in very usable ways by people outside of libraries.

The Next Generation of Search Engines (& Datamining) : The next generation of search engines are going after meaning and semantics, things that only us librarians used to talk about. Check out Kozoru. The next generation sounds mighty "librarianish." Datamining is something to think about as well. We now regularly hear about terabytes of data being organized, indexed and searched automatically.

Vendors of Electronic resources: Will our users demand we provide access to everything electronically in the future? Will libraries be nothing more than banks of workstations that allow easy access to an array of databases? If so, this puts our vendors in the driver's seat more than ever before. We rely on them to provide access to collections that were exclusively print just a decade earlier.

Epaper and Ebooks: A usable epaper & ebook could really swing that trend into high gear. This one has proven exceedingly difficult to predict, but a few new products in the pipeline look promising. Give them a year or two and I think vendors will have something usable on the market. What if we can store most of our collections on a server and allow people to "check out" what they want into one device. Most libraries are in the book business, a usable, affordable ebook might just change that.

DRM and security: DRM could erode, or eliminate fair use. As a matter of fact, nothing looks to erode our rights more than Digital Rights Management software. Using open source software is about the only defense we have against over zealous applications.

Wireless: Wifi as a way to connect, and RFID as a way to track books. The world of the future is cordless and battery powered.

Copyright, Fair Use, CIPA, Filtering, eRate and so on: Legal issues have a huge impact on technology. The law hasn't been on our side in years, and the future doesn't look bright. This is probably true only if you believe libraries are supposed to be open and available to all. Speaking of fair use, what are the chances it's legislated out of existence in the next couple decades?

Politics and Budgets: Two things that can kill off anything we want to do. Maybe overall govt. spending and taxes can fit in here too. It's one thing working against all libraries, and I think this is the biggest threat to libraries. With no money, libraries will cease to exist. Marketing and education are more important than ever for the success, or survival of libraries. Why do we need libraries, we have Google, right?

Open Access: Still a new movement, but one we should all be watching. I'm still not sure it'll be any larger in 5 years, but it could be the wave of the future. Bundled in this issue are smaller pieces including, OpenURL, open archives, LOCKSS, and many other projects that allow access to knowledge previously put behind a well. These are probably not exactly all the same thing, but rather somewhat related projects that have similar goals in mind.

Open source in libraries: Another relatively new trend, but one I would hope will be embraced in libraries sooner than later. Open source software is a hard concept to really understand. It really doesn't make sense that making your code available helps to make it more secure and useful. This is a concept that is probably even harder for the decision makers to grasp and understand why they should put money and time into.

The coming "born digital" generation: What will they demand from us? Will they even care about libraries? They are the ones that will drive the trends that will ultimately decide our fate. The coming generation may look at libraries in an entirely new way, are you ready? I'm not even sure this is a valid distinction to make, are the kids who have never known a world with no 'net really that different from those of us who've been around for a few years? Maybe. These darn kids today, why, when I was their age we didn't have Google, we had to use Webcrawler, and we liked it!

Comments

I've been trying to get back in the habit of reading all the comments lately, and one that caught my eye recently asked about the lack of comments on a particular post. Someone asked why there was no discussion on a post dealing with homelessness, something that in the past had set off some heated exchanges. That got me wondering, why wasn't there any discussion on that one? To be honest, I have no idea. I can only rarely guess what stories will generate any discussion. But that made me wonder, what topics or issues generate the most discussion?

Taking a look at my listing of stories by comments last year, I'm not sure I see any real trends. Picking on and/or defending LISNews was a popular point of discussion, so was being gay. From what I can see, people responded to censorship, children, and politics more than anything last year. That seems to be the case this year as well, minus the politics.

Politics was by far the most popular issue on the list of most comment-full stories. That was followed closely by "save the children" issues, which included saving them from the gay agenda, the internet agenda, the printed agenda, or each other. It's hard to believe anything bad happened to a single child anywhere with all those helpful folks working so hard to protect them. Bubbling under was technology and internet issues, blogs, the ALA and LISNews. 2004 was a politically charged year, both on LISNews and off, a reflection of our mostly North American audience.

It's not uncommon for me to post a story and be surprised at the number of comments. That is, I'm surprised that some stories get no comments, and surprised others end up with a dozen or more. After over 5 years and more than 7,000 stories I still can't accurately predict the number of comments on any given story. In general, I hope that everything I post will generate some discussion, but most stories we post receive no comments, and of those that do get more than zero, most will just end up with one or two.

I suppose it's often the easy targets that get the most comments. Trendy hot button issues that get people's blood boiling will often motivate more people to take the time to compose some thoughts and commit them to the permanent record. Commenting on LISNews is different than sending a reply to a listserv, it takes some real effort. There is a cost involved; it costs time and energy to post here. It takes time to figure out how to register, how to comment to begin with, and it takes time and effort to post a comment even for expert users of the Slashcode system, I know it's not the most usable system in the world. Why the heck is there just one little "reply" button to leave a comment?

One other thing surprises me now that I look back at last year, hits & comments don't always trend together. While the #1 spot for hits & comments is the same story, many of the other top stories on each list are different. The third most popular story has only three comments, #8 only 4, 9 only 1, the same with #11, #15 only 2, and #20 has no comments. I can only guess those stories were linked to from somewhere like Slashdot, and therefore were popular due to outside forces. I think we were slashdotted twice last year, and a few times in the years before that. Now that LISNews sites on its own server it can handle most anything the web throws at it.

The stories at the bottom of the hits list puzzle me, how could a story only have been hit 9 times? I can only guess there's something wrong with the hit counts on some of those due to a crash, or error of some kind. I know from watching the logs Google crawls every story more than 9 times, so how any page on the site was only hit 9 times in an entire year is beyond me.

It should be interesting to watch 2005 as we see hot issues develop. With no big elections in the US this year things may just be a bit more civil, though hopefully, just as interesting.

LISNews Numbers For Jan 2005

'Twas the first month of '05 and all through the web librarians were stiring, and something that rhymes with web.
I took a bit of html out of Urchin for this chart, maybe I'll try and do this going forward.

By Month Jan 05
Total Sessions 271,624.00
Total Pageviews 1,018,216.00
Total Hits 2,454,149.00
Total Bytes Transferred 26.13 GB
Unique IP Addresses 38,731

Average Sessions Per Day 8,762.06
Average Pageviews Per Day 32,845.68
Average Hits Per Day 79,166.10
Average Bytes Transferred Per Day 863.04 MB

Average Pageviews Per Session 3.75
Average Hits Per Session 9.04
Average Bytes Per Session 100.86 KB
Average Length of Session 00:10:12


The journals were quite popular this month, accouting for about 222,000 pageviews.
The most popular being Daniel, nbruce, show, djfiander, Blake, and slashgirl.
Most popular feeds were slashgirl, Walt, nbruce, djfiander, Blake, and birdi.

In the browser department Firefox shows up at about 10% of all sessions now.


LISNews Database numbers for 2005-01Busiest authors:Blake : 200
Rochelle : 56
birdie : 16
bentley : 14
Daniel : 13
Ryan : 13
Samantha : 12
thesaint : 12
Louise : 5
Bill Drew : 2
Anna : 2
Brian : 1
rudimyers : 1
Ieleen : 1
Kate : 1
John : 1
Mock Turtle : 1
Authors hits per story:Brian : 933.00
rudimyers : 774.00
Bill Drew : 621.00
Ieleen : 568.00
Anna : 560.00
Ryan : 400.54
thesaint : 387.83
Rochelle : 339.04
Louise : 335.00
birdie : 332.00
Blake : 326.50
Daniel : 326.23
John : 305.00
bentley : 288.79
Samantha : 256.50
Mock Turtle : 102.00
Kate : 96.00
Total number of comments: 666
Total number of commentors: 100
Busiest commentors:GregS* : 66
Blake : 48
mdoneil : 46
Rochelle : 43
twistedlibrarian : 41
Daniel : 26
AshtabulaGuy : 24
kylere : 22
Great Western Dragon : 20
Curmudgeony : 17
Total number of stories: 351
Total number of submissions: 325
Total number of metamoderations: 978
Total Fair: 957
Total Unfair: 21
Total number of moderations: 559
--Total up: 511
--Total down: 18
--Funny: 19
Average score of moderated comments: 1.7469
Comments with a score of 5: 20
Comments with a score of 4: 41
Comments with a score of 3: 67
Comments with a score of 2: 133
Comments with a score of 1: 389
Comments with a score of less than 0: 2
Number of journal entries: 153
Number of journal comments: 145
Most prolific journalors:26 : Durst
15 : Daniel
14 : Blake
13 : nbruce
12 : slashgirl
11 : twistedlibrarian
9 : AshtabulaGuy
7 : mdoneil
7 : Walt
4 : Rochelle
Number of people who logged in: 409
Total number of user accounts: 3810

Anonymous Patron, Dollars and Cents, QuickLinks

1. Unless someone can talk me out of it, I'm turning Anonymous Patron back on for the month of February. A couple public and private suggestions pushed me off the fence. Like Fang said, we'll see how it goes. Looking back at what drove us to an Anonymousless LISNews I think maybe, just maybe, things will be different now. We'll see how things go next month, and revisit the issued at the end of February. Ever the optimist I be.

2. All roads to financial freedom for LISNews have lead to a dead end so far. Though I've kept it rather quiet, I've yet to find an option that seems viable. It worked out fine last year, so maybe it will again this year. A couple people suggested grant writing, which is an idea, and one that I'm just no good at. Things are working the way they are now, so I guess at this point it ain't broke so I won't try to fix it.

3. Have you noticed my QuickLinks posts lately? I'm planning on making QuickLinks a daily feature. I spent some time with my old friend Google the other day and just did a search for "librarians" and made a note of the interesting things I found in the first 100 pages or so. I didn't focus on new things, or old things, just things I found interesting. So many neat sites, so little time.

Search Me

It seems like everyone and their brother released a desktop search tool in the last year. I've never had a problem locating my documents, emails, or any other digital goodies for that matter. Maybe I just have less digital stuff than most folks, or maybe I just don't need to retrieve anything from my digital stuff that is difficult to locate.

My documents, my digital stuff, are organized according to document type, which, even to me, seems bizarre. That's just how I am able to best retrieve my things. There's a folder for PDFs, one for XLSs & MDBs, an other for DOCs, one for images, one for TXT files, and then one last one of miscellaneous crap. Other folders include backups, music, and a few topical folders like class, photos, and assorted other goodies. This structure is repeated on my FlashDrive that goes back and forth between work and home. I tend to think about what I'm looking for as a document format, and I've always been able to find what I need this way.

The most important things on my computer are with out a doubt my emails, especially my sent items, and the DOCs/TXT files. I'm back to outlook express for email, after spending significant time on Thunderbird, Outlook, and Webmail I find myself happiest using a POP connection with Outlook Express. My sent items, the most important folder (excluding my inbox) has well over 15,000 items now, and there's a couple thousand more on LISHost waiting to be downloaded. I have almost every email I've sent for about the last 4 years now, it's quite an archive!

I guess I just don't understand the importance of desktop search. I've never had the need, nor do I see even reaching a point in my life where I might need such a tool. It may be I'm just short sighted, or maybe lazy and not as productive as other people. Then again, maybe I'm just better organized.

Anonymous Patron, Karma, and .qmail files.

I'll keep with the recent theme of three things in a journal entry so I can be just like everyone else.

1. I was thinking of turning back on the Anonymous Patron account. Thoughts, concerns questions? At this point I'm only THINKING about it. I kinda miss the ol' boy, but there was an overwhelming majority that wanted to see him escorted from the premises. How are we feeling on that issue these days?

2. Karma points can now go higher than 102, it's a secret just how high you can go now, but I will share with you the following. Your comments get an extra point if your karma is above 15. Karma can go down to -25. Submitting a story earns the most karma, though I can't find the variable that controls how much to save my life.

3. From the "It's not you it's me department" I tried 3 times to contact the MovableType folks about a fully licensed copy for LISHost (to make my life easier, and to offer cheap blog hosting) and got no response. I was about ready to give up on them when it occurred to me that I'd been messing with some new spam filtering on my LISHost.org account, and it turns out maybe they had been replying to me all along, all email was going to /dev/null. Luckily that's not an account I use, so the only mail I lost was from them. Maybe they're not so bad after all, for weeks I've been amazed they never replied thinking what a crummy company they must be when all along it was my fault.

This cam about because I am trying to figure out how to make .qmail files editable by each user. I'm not sure I can do it with the way I have Qmail installed.

PRWEB

Press releases are just ridiculous sometimes. I was digging for news and ran across one that said [a web site] " of law firms and legal experts has reached top rankings for a majority of listings on popular search engines such as Google & Yahoo. "
That's it, that's the big news. Someone bragging that they've "reached top rankings" on a few search engines. (Strangely enough I couldn't find them in a search for lawyers or lawyer.)

Actually, come to think of it, that's not a ridiculous release at all is it? It's brilliant. Just the links from the sites that post releases would be enough to up their placement. Darn it, now I'm just impressed.

Heart Healthy Eating

I've been reading up on what things are good for me, not just for me, but what foods seem to lead to fewer heart problems. So here's what I've learned, nothing really original or earth shattering, just a handy list to keep in mind.

In General:
Lower fats: Eat chicken, fish and lean meats.
Lower sugars and junk: Obviously; less pre packaged and preprocessed crap is better.
More fruits and vegetables; Whenever possible snack on raw fruits and veggies.
More garlic, olive oil and fish.
Focus foods: There are some foods that seem to help reduce heart troubles. These are wine, fish, garlic, olive oil, dark chocolate, nuts (almonds especially) and red wine.

Good Things:
Soy: Soy milk, soy nuts.
Nuts: almonds, walnuts and cashews
Fruits: Tomatoes, berries, guava, watermelon
Vegetables: Dark green, or bright red
Dark Chocolate: Make sure it's dark, not milk.
Fish: salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring
Red Wine: It may be that just any wine, or even alcohol is good.
Olive Oil: Cook with Olive Oil rather than any other
Beans: Red, pinto.
Green Tea: Any tea, but especially green.
Whole Wheat Bread: Whole wheat anything as compared to white flour is better.
Oat Meal: Any whole grain / high fiber cereals for breakfast.
Spices & Hot peppers: Make things spicy and hot, especially with fresh garlic.

Bad Things:
Corn Syrup
Trans Fats
Red Meats
Sugar
White Flour
Saturated fat
Deep fried foods

Blah Blah Blah Mostly

Battlestar Galactica is amusing me to no end. I'm not sure what it is about that show, but I just love it. I finally watched the first part of the mini-series and the first 2 episodes of the new series and absolutely loved them. Thanks to the miraculous powers of my DVR I can watch 2 hours worth of show in less than an hour. I can also watch The Daily Show in about 15 minutes. I'm very efficient when it comes to watching TV now, I spend about an hour a week. I also have all the new episodes of 24 sitting there, though I'm not sure I'll ever get to them.

Bibliofuture sent along a picture from China of little Bibliofuture 2.0. The picture was taken in some kind of restaurant in China, but on the wall behind her was a license plate from South Carolina. That just seemed kind of random, more like something I'd see at a T.G.I. Fridays or something here in The States. Parents and baby are well and expected to make the long flight back home soon.

I'm still balking on moving LISNews to a new server and code base. It'll be a few weeks before I think I'll have the time. The forecast calls for pain. The G00GLE ads aren't paying for the server this year, so I'll attempt to move us to a new cheaper sever, though I'll probably still go begging for money, or look for other options. I'm still waiting for the buy out offer from the NY Times or Wall Street Journal. I'm still wrestling with all the ideas on what to do with the server. I don't like the idea of selling out, so I'm not really sure what we'll end up doing. Nothing new with that story though, it's essentially the same thing I've been wrestling with since I started the site.

I've been trying to think of new ways to expand the number of LISHosted sites. I'm thinking of offering a rather cheap place to host blogs with no extras, maybe $50 a year or something like that. I could also try webmail, but that seems like a losing proposition. At this point I'm just over the break even mark, but with the amount of time I put in, it's not a money maker by any stretch. I'd probably make more money setting up a lemonade stand, BUT, I never thought I'd make anything, and I really enjoy the LISHost work, so I'm not complaining. It's really interesting and fun as far as computer stuff goes.

My predictions of 90 degree weather in Buffalo turned out to be premature as we've gotten a few feet of snow and no even come close to 30 in the past week. Supposed to get down to 0 tonite. The good news is the lake is almost frozen which usually means a decline in snow fall amounts. The bad news is 0 is just cold no matter how you try to spin it, sure, it's a dry cold, but it's still just damn cold.

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