strange requests

A patron came in asking for a picture book of dead people. I didn't find any listings under the title he gave me. I had no idea what an appropriate subject heading for that would be. I tried doing a subject search-- death photographs? death pictures? That just got me (of course) movies. Then he asked me if I'd seen Faces of Death which I actually have seen bits of. Not my cup of tea.

I suggested books on war, thinking there were probably some pictures of dead people in there, but he wanted, er, one stop shopping. As one patron said to me once, "I want pictures, I don't need all them words!" (Honest to pete, she did.)

My little Horizon problem turned out to be a Horizon problem, not a telecom problem at all. No comment.

You should hear me. I sound like the frog princess. It was quite a feat answering the phones on information. I croaked out some renewal information, I held a book for some one, croak croak croak. This cold is really a bummer, although I feel better than I did Saturday, when sitting upright was a chore.

New fun filtering software for me! I don't want to change so much what it filters content-wise. Honestly, I like for people to have as free range as possible. But it has the ability to stop java based games (I managed to stop most Flash based things myself, har har) and IM stuff. If it could only filter out Google images of sneakers, I'd be the happiest woman alive. I don't know why it irks me so much, that these kids spend what seems like hours on the internet (though less now with the timed access software) staring at pictures of sneakers.

The timed access software is going great. I love this stuff. It doesn't help the congregating around the terminals too much (we have problems with kids gathering to look at --what else-- sneakers. Or scantily clad women) but it does help limit how long they congregate. And about fights about who gets on next. No number, no turn. No exceptions.

I really expected more complaints. I really, really did. My supervisor always tells me to knock on wood... It's only been a week. But most people are adjusting, and the regulars (who would be the ones to complain) have either buckled down, got cards, and learned to make the most of their hour, or gone elsewhere. Those were the squatters. Since then, we've had people get on that have actually been using the facilities the way they were designed... They do research, look for jobs, homes, schools, do general betterment stuff by using the computers, something they wouldn't have gotten the chance to, necessarily, two weeks ago.

It was that bad a situation two weeks ago. Honestly. It's that much better this week. I need to have my direct supervisor come out and behold it periodically. She's still unconvinced, but I think she'll come around. Everyone else is in love.

Here's hoping the love affair gets to continue.

To PIX or not to PIX; that is the question

I'm talking firewalls! Sheesh, some people...

PIX is a type of Cisco firewall. You'd think that there'd be something super inteligent in an entry level firewall from Cisco that cost $1,500. Just to satisfy your curiosity, check out this link.

But nooo, what you're looking at right there is likely a 350MHz P2 box with a customized OS and almost no memory. You can get the general idea from here and here.

So why pay $1,000 to $1,500 specially budget'd dollars to yer library for that retired doorstop? I don't know, you tell me! Since I can get this system for under $300cdn. Ok, I give, it has no floppy or monitor. But then, why buy new when that retired P2 is doing nothing but collecting dust on your shelf?

All you need to do is pay for a top quality, security conscious O/S and a couple of decent network cards (Intel NICs are highly recommended), a little time and viola, you have yourself a high quality vpn/ipsec and lets not forget redundancy capable firewall.

A great comedic spoof has been written and preformed in honour of OpenBSD's next release, 3.5. I encourage all those individuals that are fans of the great Monty Python troupe please visit this web page for a hilarious out-take on how and why redundancy was built into OpenBSD.

Yes. You caught me. I'm done plugging OpenBSD (for now, anyway :). A little evangelism never hurt anybody, right?

Librarian Action Figure Flying off the Shelves

An article in the April 4 Baltimore Sun talks about the popularity of the recently introduced librarian action figure. The article revits some of the debate about the look of the doll and "shushing" action reinforcing stereotypes, but the news is that the item is selling very well and has become one of Accoutrements best sellers.

G-string mail and underwire browser supporters

Doesn't a supported browser sort of sound like a type of undergarment? Kind of like "blog" makes me think of running noses.

So Google is aiming for a week or three to have gmail go live. I will forgive them if it doesn't happen. I am hoping I can hosey the name "shoe." If not, I'll settle for my old Yahoo-esque user name -- yeah, with a gig of storage! I went to the ol' gmail site to check it out, and it tells me...

You are using an unsupported browser

at the end of the day

When it comes down to it, I really do like my job.

Even if... even if I'm a little peeved at this whole ILS issue right now. I am interested to hear what happened and see if it's working Monday morning. My schedule got switched and I'm working Monday morning, which is just fine with me. I am most indubitably a morning person.

I like the challenge of dealing with the public. The times you have a kid say, "InfoTrack is cool!" makes up for all the people that get rather surly over ten cent fines. I like playing with computers. I like finding books for people.

Bioethics my ASS!

This Being Human: Readings from the President's Council on Bioethics doesn't have anything to do with ethics that I can see at first glance. I fact I didn't see any science during the quick look I took at it, just philosophy. The opening paragraph to Chapter One is:

Best Books from Tempe library

I've always liked lists. I like making them. Computers make lists even better - because one can very easily sort them in various orders. Well, they're easy to sort if one sets them up correctly. I like figuring out ways to make them better - more fun or more utilitarian or whatever. I like marking things off - "look what I've accomplished!". But in the long run, I never seem to keep a list for long. My attention span is probably too short. Sigh.

Anyway, I’m currently on a kick of looking at lists of "best books" on the internet. Not books on the internet, but lists of books on the internet. Geez, I can already feel my attention wandering . . . .

Anyway, I stumbled across a list of best books from Tempe library at

It is an interesting list because it is annotated and because the contributors are diverse. I’ve included extremely arbitrary selected portions of the list. I’m including only those select portions about which I have something to say – and I’ve deleted all the comments by Tempe people.

Anderson, Robert. I Never Sang for My Father
I saw the movie when I was in college and read the book much later. Both are good.
Bach, Richard. Jonathan Livingston Seagull
I’m rather embarrassed to admit I read this (long, long ago), even more embarrassed to admit I liked it.
Baum, L. Frank. Wizard of Oz
I’ve never read the book, not wild about the movie.
Canfield, Jack [et al]. Chicken Soup for the Soul
A little goes a very, very long way.
Cannell, Dorothy. The Thin Woman
Fun mystery series for those who like light mysteries. Popcorn for the mind.
Dorris, Michael. Yellow Raft in Blue Water
I haven’t read this book by Dorris, but really liked The Broken Cord
Esquivel, Laura Like Water for Chocolate
I hated the movie.
Frank, Ann. The Diary of a Young Girl
Great book
Frost, Robert. The Road Not Taken
Great poem
Fulgham, Robert. All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten
It didn’t take long to read . . .
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird
Great book
Lewis, C.S. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
I’ve read quite a few of his non-fiction books, but I somehow just don’t get the fantasy genre.
Lindbergh, Anne Morrow. Gift From the Sea
I haven’t read everything she has written, but nearly. This is probably her best.
McCullers, Carson. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
The movie is really good and really depressing. I tried to read the book, but got sidetracked.
MacKay, Harvey. Swim with the Sharks without being eaten Alive
I liked the book when I read it, but I certainly wasn’t very successful at applying lessons.
Milne, A. A. Winnie the Pooh
Even when I was a kid I didn’t understand books that had talking animals.
Mitchell, Margaret. Gone with the Wind
Don’t particularly like the movie, I’ve never tried the book.
Neville, Katherine. The Eight
I really liked this book. I read another book by Neville which seemed awfully similar. Started a third book by her and it seemed that she had one really good book and clones, so I quit.
Orwell, George. Animal Farm
Orwell, George. 1984
Two of the first classics that I read in high school.
Plath, Sylvia . The Bell Jar
Many years ago this was my favorite book. Misery loves company.
Reader’s Digest Condensed Books
Hmmm . . .
Ritter, Thomas . Say No to Circumcision! 40 Compelling Reasons Why You Should Respect His Birthright and Keep Your Son Whole
Interesting entry. Haven’t read it, ain’t gonna read it.
Sayers, Dorothy L. Gaudy Night
Good book, good mystery.
Silverstein, Shel. Where the Sidewalk Ends
I like his books. Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book: A Primer for Adults Only is particularly funny.
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club
Took me quite a while, but it was worth it.
Tolkien, J. R.R. The Hobbit
I really tried to read this, I stuck through it when the animals were talking, but when the trees started talking, it was over for me.
Waller, Robert James. Bridges of Madison County
I hated it – not the whole book, there were a few good lines, but definitely not worth it.

I think one of the most interesting question to ask people is "What is your favorite book?" The answer is often surprising.

the ol' back and forth

As of late this afternoon, Horizon appears to be working, and fully functional, albeit slow. Interesting. I fear it's because the old systems guy fixed something I missed... though I would assume he would tell me if he did. (that's my insecurity talking) There was no reason to touch the print server today, as it, and all the terminals, were completely shut down.

Flight Not Fight

Now here's something interesting. Even though Iraqi survivors are being touted as happy to be alive (so far), some Americans living in the U.S. are thorougly unsatisified with the state of their country. So much so that they are willing to cut and run. There are no solid numbers in this one, alas, since it would be an invasion of privacy (and not really relevant) to require that prospective immigrants divulge their political reasons for ditching a purportedly fine and upstanding country like the U.S. (listed as approximately 32nd in a world ranking by press freedom, but only within the confines of the U.S.).

Nice of Lanzendorfer to give us recognition for being a refuge for those escaping political repression in the U.S. Of course, it has always been that way. We took in the Loyalists after the American Revolution, uppity nigger run-aways during the abolitionist years before the Civil War, Native Americans during the genocide of the Indian Wars, Viet Nam, as mentioned, and now we're taking in those who'd rather send themselves into exile than die on the altar of George Bush's overweaning arrogance and worship of God or the Almighty Dollar (depending on who he is speaking to at any given moment).

Glad to be of service.

Now that I've read this I wonder if I shouldn't have done something about pressuring our own government into declaring Canada a safe haven for American political refugees when I thought of it about a year ago.

Flight Not Fight By Joy Lanzendorfer, AlterNet April 1, 2004

Joanna Harmon is considering whether to leave the United States for Canada. Nik and Nancy Phelps practically have visas in hand to set up business in Belgium. Joan Magit and her husband are eyeing Vancouver. Amy Gertz moved to the United States from Canada two and a half years ago -- she's now moving back.

These are scary times for the liberally minded American. Many liberals feel isolated and embarrassed by the actions of our government. Some are downright terrified at what will happen if Bush is re-elected in November. When politics get too bleak, it's comforting to remind ourselves that we can always move to another country. But how many of us are serious about it?

A recent letter to the AlterNet columnist Auntie Establishment generated quite a buzz. The letter, from a reader identified as 'Packing My Bags in Pennsylvania,' asked Auntie what she thought about people abandoning the United States for more politically prosperous horizons. 'Packing' said, "I'm seriously considering escaping across the border and moving to Mexico or Canada."

E-mails came pouring in from people who are also seriously considering leaving the United States for Canada or other parts of the world in an effort to escape the claw-like grip of the Bush administration. While Auntie urged people to stay and fight, some felt that was asking too much. Things were going to get worse before they got better, many seemed to feel. Why stay on a sinking ship?

News sources from CNN to to The Daily Show have run pieces about Americans supposedly leaving the United States for other parts of the world. Even our celebrities were rumored to be leaving the U.S. Johnny Depp did it -- he lives in France. Alec Baldwin, Robert Altman, and Eddie Vedder allegedly threatened to leave if Bush was elected in 2000, (though Baldwin later denied ever saying any such thing).

There certainly has been a lot of talk. But is that all it is -- talk?

Oh Canada!

If Americans are leaving the United States, Canada is certainly one of the most convenient places to go. It may be a little cold, but it's right across the border and most Canadians speak English. Many of the major issues that divide the Left and the Right in the U.S. seem resolved in Canada. They have a lower crime rate, universal health care, and reportedly better education. Their medical doctors can dispense marijuana and last year they decided to officially recognize same-sex marriages.
And, on top of all that, the rest of the world isn't mad at them.

Americans have fled to Canada before. In 1970, during the Vietnam War, roughly 23,000 Americans legally moved to Canada, according to the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Since then, the number of people who move to Canada every year has dropped steadily, even through the Reagan and Bush Senior administrations. In the 1990s, the number of people moving to Canada every year leveled out and since then has hovered in the 4,000s and 5,000s.

Which brings us to recent events. According to Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Department, the numbers of American foreign nationals awarded permanent residence in Canada were:

Year: Number 1997: 5,028 1998: 4,768 1999: 5,528 2000: 5,815 2001: 5,902 2002: 5,288

The numbers indicate a slight peak in immigration around 2,000 and 2001, during the election year and the first year of Bush's term, with another slight dip in 2002, after September 11 (when U.S. patriotism was running high and Canada was tightening its immigration laws). However, there's no way to know for sure whether that spike has anything to do with politics. A peak in immigration in 2000 and 2001 could just as easily have to do with the sluggish U.S. economy as it could with people
wanting to flee the Bush administration.

Obviously, the Canadian government doesn't track whether people are coming into Canada because of disgruntled political philosophies. And the Canadians I talked to who deal with immigration seemed skeptical that anyone would move to Canada to get away from a dominant party. But others have noticed a slight change.

"I don't think you could say we've seen a marked increase in Americans interested in moving to Canada," says Colin Singer, a Montreal attorney who specializes in immigration law. "But you could say there has been a slight increase in same-sex couples and Americans under common-law marriage looking at Canada as a place to take up residence."

But whether a few or a lot of people are leaving the United States for another country, some people are definitely doing it. Take Nancy and Nik Phelps of San Francisco -- who are moving to Belgium later this year. Nancy says their reasons for leaving the United States are 80 percent about politics and 20 percent about lifestyle change.

"There was a time I felt that we should stay in the U.S. and fight," she says. "Then again, there was a time to get out of Germany during World War II, too. This is that time here. I think the oppression is just going to get worse here. If Bush stole one election, why wouldn't he steal the next one?"

One of the reasons people are thinking of leaving the U.S. is because of a fear of fascism. Whether or not that fear is realistic is debatable, but recent changes like the Patriot Act restricting our rights and dissent being criticized as unpatriotic has weighed heavily on many minds. Joanna Harmon is an archivist for the Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Though she hasn't made up her mind, some of her reasons for considering the move are based in history.

"I specialized in history for my degree," she said. "And I see a lot of parallels between our society and what happened when the Republic became a dictatorship in Ancient Rome. I don't want to stay here if it turns into that."

A lot of people who are thinking of moving out of the United States, to Canada or otherwise, are waiting to see what will happen in the November 2004 election. If Bush is re-elected, many plan to start the relocation process. Joan Magit, who lives in Northridge, California, says she and her husband will most likely move to Vancouver if Bush gets in.

"The damage that has been done by this administration, especially in the court system, is a lot worse than people comprehend," she says. "I don't think I will want to live in a country that is so right wing."

Approximately 20,000 Canadians move to the United States a year, but at least some of them are turning around and moving right back. Amy Gertz was born in the United States but moved to Canada when she was five years old. She spent most of her adult life in Canada, but two and a half years ago, she moved back to the United States with her husband. Now at age 50, she has decided to return to Canada, where she will stay for good.

Though she says she would be considered conservative in Canada, Gertz says she's horrified by the differences between the two countries.

"What the heck happened to the U.S. while I was gone?" she said. "I had no idea that I was moving to a corporate dictatorship. I don't want to get caught in the inevitable global backlash, and I feel guilty even just being here."

As someone who knows first hand, Gertz agrees with many of the things you hear about Canada: It has better schools and stronger health care, does a better job separating church and state, and is more globally minded than the U.S. She also points out that the U.S. is not a "post modern" country, i.e. it isn't open to a variety of perspectives, recognizing them all as valid.

"America is more extremist, both on the left and the right," Gertz says. "Americans seem unable to manage much compromise. I believe this is one of the reasons we are in the state we are in."

Gathering Points

Not everyone automatically qualifies for permanent legal residence in Canada. Canadians have an immigration system based on points. Applicants take a test that assesses whether they meet minimum immigration qualifications. You have to score 67 points or better to get into Canada. Among other things, an individual moving to Canada has to have a bachelors degree or equivalent education, be fluent in English or French, have a minimum of four years' work experience, and have sufficient financial
resources to settle in Canada for six months. The system limits likely immigrants to a middle-class, educated group.

"There can be additional factors of assessment that can make it easier," said Singer. "Having an educated spouse or family ties in Canada can lessen the burden for you."

You can take a test assessing your immigration status at

But whether you qualify or not, think hard before abandoning the U.S. As Auntie said, "Unpack your bags, my flighty friend, and gear up for a long, dirty struggle for the soul and spirit of your country."

ILS ills

Horizon was acting up yesterday. I was so in the mood for it too. I have the head cold from hell (my dad says I now sound like Stevie Nicks). Anyway, head cold aside, there's a lot of pointing going on as to what the problem is. I am willing to look at the possibility that it could be on our end, but with the behavior of the system in general, I don't think it is. Still, I will do the virus scans and I took down all the computers that were, er, superfluous.

Star Wars DVD

The first three Star Wars movies are being released on DVD. They are going to be released in September of this year. Currently it is the #1 selling DVD at Amazon. The box set list for $60 but Amazon is selling them for $42 (DVD at AMZN)
That is only $14 per movie, not bad!

Two weeks...two conferences...

Two weeks have now seen two conferences come and go. At the first one I acted as my faculty member's Parliamentary Private Secretary (Westminster style) in taking care of some things. At the second one I had to stand and present much akin to what a sitting in Westminster Hall as part of the proceedings of the House of Commons might be like. Sadly I wound up talking to the walls instead of being heard by any attendees...

The long strange trip in detail

My next few postings will deal with the conference, but since Walt asked, here's my odyessey:

Sunday March 28 - Board a plane in Fairbanks Alaska around 1pm with three fellow librarians and an author/presenter.

Flight plan is Fairbanks to Anchorage, then board a plane that goes to Juneau with stops in Cordova and Yakutat. When we arrive in Anchorage, we are told our flight is cancelled due to bad weather. We are booked on the same flight on Monday. (approximately 3pm)

One of my friends suggests we rent a car and stay at a reasonably priced downtown hotel. We agree and five of us pile into a small car with our luggage. Careful packing on our part enables the trunk to hold most of what we have, with me and another person holding small bags in our laps.

We check into the Anchorage Westmark (recommended) and have a WONDERFUL dinner at the Glacier Brewhouse -- food and beer both recommended. Nothing like three librarians and an author for stimulating conversation.

Monday March 29,
We have a very pleasant breakfast in good company and decide to tour the UAA consortium library, since at conference I'd been invited to do so "next time I was in Anchorage." The five of us agree that even though construction was in progress, it is a fine facility with a lot of potential.

We hop on the plane. We are told "conditions are marginal in Juneau -- we may have to land in Sitka instead." That's ok. We've previously determined that there was a viable ferry connection in Sitka that evening. If we get stranded there, we'll just spend an extra 40 bucks and get HOME! We get to Cordova w/o incident and land in Yakutat ok. At Yakutat we stay on the ground -- without being let out -- for an hour and a half. We are waiting for conditions in Juneau or Sitka to clear. Sadly, weather is very bad in both places. Alaska Airlines decides to route us directly to Seattle.

Midnight Mar 29/30 - We arrive at the Seattle airport very bleary eyed. Airport staff inform us booking counter is closed and gives us discount hotel vouchers and the Alaska Airlines 800 number. Dozens of people rush to phones. One of our number is fortunate to have a sister in Seattle and drives off with her.

After consulting with us about conditions and library personalities in Juneau, our author friend understandably gives up trying to come to Juneau, since her last talk was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon and returns to her home.

After some haggling, I am booked on a Wed 6:30pm flight. One librarian friend is booked Wed at 8am and the other at Wed at 3pm. We join the aforementioned dozens of people at the Seattle Clarion around 1am where a clerk does an excellent job of checking in very annoyed and sleepy people.

Tuesday March 30 - Spent a great (under the circumstances) day with my two friends, both of whom have been to Seattle before. We check out the Pike St. Market (go see it), the Seattle Art Musuem, and the Space Needle (great place for sunsets). I'm so fascinated by the Seattle Art Museum that I leave my backpack with flight confirmation code there. Ugh! After the Space Needle, we had a small dinner at Ivar's seafood place. Ivar's is rightly renowned for the clam chowder it ships throughout the Northwest.

Wednesday March 31st.

One friend leaves on his 8am flight and does get into Juneau. My other friend and I take a leisurely drive through West Seattle on our way back to the Seattle Art Musuem. Once my bag is recovered, we go to the Seattle Aquarium. The Aquarium has a great display of sea otters and sea lions which I could have watched all day. However, my friend and I did want to go home so we drove our rental car back to the airport so we would be in time for her 3pm flight, which I entertained dreams of flying standby on.

Once we get to the airport, my confirmation code does not work, much to my dismay. I see a live ticket agent who tells me that the computer believes that I used up my ticket since I did board a plane in Anchorage. My being in SEATTLE as opposed to JUNEAU doesn't concern its binary logic. Thankfully, humans are more flexible and she fixes me up with manual paperwork to go with my boarding pass.

HOWEVER, this manual paperwork flags me for "secondary screening" in Security. Being a displaced passenger apparently being a cause for suspicion. I had to take off my shoes and belt, empty my pockets of nonmetallic items and turn down my waistband and be physically patted down. In addition, they search my backpack (which I understand) and my wallet (which I do not understand). Eventually they let me go. I am NOT grateful to my government for this treatment, but plan to write no letters at this time. I think we'd be better off creating separate cockpit entrances and walling off the passenger cabin than these intensive screenings -- but that's another story for another time.

9:20pm HOME IN JUNEAU!!!! My wife brought me roses and a card! I am thrilled to be so loved.

This sort of travel disruption truly isn't common in Southeast Alaska, but it's not rare either. It's something people should be prepared for, but not to expect. Much of Alaska doesn't have this problem at all, as the capital movers often remind us. Still, I'm grateful for my little piece of rainforest.

Until next time,

home early

I came home early, sick. I feel guilty. So guilty that I took a nap (I know, that doesn't sound guilty) and then I logged in and started doing work relating to our little telecom problem. I probably should have stayed at work to tough it out, but I felt so awful. I still feel awful. But I feel a little less awful that I got to lay down.

Police Find Bomb on High-Speed Rail Line in Spain

From a WaPo story:

The minister said it was not yet known who had placed the bomb. He said early analysis suggested the explosives were similar to those used March 11 to blow up commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people and injuring 1,800.

Wait, that's not fair! The deal was we'd vote in a government that would withdraw our troops from Iraq, and you'd stop attacking us.

Gwynne Dyer on the Falluja ambush

I came across an op-ed piece by someone named Gwynne Dyer on the Iranian Mehr News Agency site, via a link from Google News. Here's the bit I want to write about:

Statistics don't actually mean much to people; pictures mean a lot. Mr. Bush has succeeded in persuading a (dwindling) majority of Americans that his Iraq adventure had something to do with fighting terrorism, which is why the public has been so patient with him as the 'weapons of mass destruction' failed to turn up and the Iraqi armed resistance grew. But surely not all of the people in those jeering crowds in Falluja can be terrorists? Is it possible that they really don't want us there? Then why are our kids being sent there to die?

Dyer's thoughts here are backwards from at least two perspectives. First of all, it seems to me that the assumption underlying the three final questions in this paragraph is that if "they" don't want us there, we shouldn't be there--bring our kids home! But who is the "they" whose ill will Dyer takes as the criterion for us to depart? Is it the residents of Falluja alone? Is their desire for us to leave adequate grounds for us go evacuate Iraq entirely? Does the will of the 15% who want us to leave immediately (among whom the residents of Falluja are putatively numbered) trump that of the other 53% of Iraqis who want us to stay, at least until there is a stable transition of power? Or perhaps Dyer means that the desire of the Fallujanis for our departure means that we should just stay out of Falluja, but continue occupation elsewhere. That would be a coherent military doctrine, wouldn't it: ceding control of the area occupied by our most dangerous adversaries? It would be rather like saying after 9/11 "well, we know the Taliban doesn't want us in their part of Afghanistan, so we'll just occupy the part now held by the Northern Alliance." Any attempt to figure out just what Dyer means reveals the utter incoherence of this bit of his writing. Doubtless he means something by it, but there is no rigorous way of figuring out what. Don't even bother wondering how he would have applied this fuzzy criterion to the unpopular post-war occupations of Germany and Japan.

Secondly, I take him to imply in his second sentence that there is no connection between the invasion of Iraq and the war on terror (if he doesn't think this, then I apologize to him). Let's think back: what was one of America's greatest crimes in Al Qaida's eyes? The defiling of Saudi soil with the deployment of our infidel troops there. And why were infidel soldiers deployed there? To prevent Saddam Hussein from invading Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. And who now presents no threat to other Gulf states? Saddam. No connection, eh? Wouldn't bin Laden be happy if, instead of defiling Saudi soil by our proximity to Mecca and Medina, we could instead sully Shia Islam's holiest sites in Iraq? Of course, we'd still have to give East Timor back to the Indonesians, Andalusia back to the Moors, and destroy Israel before al Qaida would be placated. Oh, and cease to propagate any cultural influence whatever to Muslim countries. But even then, I don't think they'd stop trying to destroy the West. There are, after all, many Muslims living in the West being exposed to our decadance.

OCLC's ContentDM...

Hi all...

working with the public is hazardous to your health

This is my second cold in a month. While I was at Simmons, I got, I think two colds in two years. Bummer. Under normal circumstances, since I was up all night and feel very barfy, I probably would claim defeat and take a sick day. But our YA librarian is among the missing this week, which leaves us with a total of three librarians, myself included.

The weather isn't very nice. I'm hoping it keeps the kids away, but usually it drives them all in. Fridays aren't always so bad though. Kids seem to have other things to do on Friday.

Today is a break from computers day, if I can at all help it. I have some reference books I'd like to order. I should weed if I get the chance, although that's up in the air. I've done my computer related good deed for the week -- well, two of them. I got the software for the Horizon backup on line, and I got the Francomputer working. Oh yeah, and that whole timed access thing.

I like to name patrons. There's "Very Intense Man." Very Intense Man seems to be a nice enough guy but boy is he -- intense. Every statement is delivered a la William Shatner. Then there's "Racist Man." Haven't seen him in awhile. Not that I miss him or anything.

Then you start to know patrons by what they ask for. There's this one kid that comes in looking for criticisms of a certain author (well, there's lots of kids that do that, but one kid stands out). First he came in wanting a biography, which I found for him. Then he wanted criticism, which another librarian found for him (thank you, thank you Gale Group). Then we came full circle back to biographies. We aren't getting new biographies on this author every week, unfortunately. And it isn't someone like Mark Twain or F. Scott Fitzgerald, who would have several biographies.

I have been recommended a different type of lockdown software. This interests me, as I find Fortres lacking in certain features. I mean, Fortres is good, and it keeps people out of the major stuff... I would like to try something different though. The major problem being, there are a lot of things I would like to try that come first.

What I was recommended does block java based games and IM. That interests me. I wonder what else it blocks, though. Button up Fortres too tight, and it blocks all the OCS stuff. People get surly when you take away their ability to print.


Three LAN cards later, I gave up and shoved the IBM LAN card that was in the Linux box in the stupid Windows box. It worked beautifully, and I think I was the only one that was sorry to see the Linux terminal go. God knows the patrons weren't.

As soon as I got the LAN card working, I went online and discovered I didn't have the right drivers for the old piece of crud Nvidia card in the box. The piece of crud drivers that came with the piece of crud operating system (unless Bill Gates wants to give me a grant. I can be bought) made all the sites look like pieces of crud. Something about only 16 colors will do that. I was so intent on getting the piece of crud LAN card to work that the piece of crud graphics slipped by me.

After frenzied googling I found the correct piece of crud drivers. Finally the computer was suitable for public consumption. I managed to put the computer on the network, load Fortres, load the OCS software, and go on my merry way. It is currently out getting it's share of abuse.

So this one computer is now made up of several. It's had donated organs that have gone through several computers -- I believe the LAN card came originally out of an IBM that finally gave up the ghost in the children's room.

More praise for the timed access software. I do so wish we could get card integration, but I don't think it's going to be effective. Besides, it's sort of nice to visually see who's back there. Make the connection, and all that.

This is definitely going to be less wear and tear on the PCs. They're getting used about the same, but more seriously. As the assistant director so aptly said, "The toy factor is gone." And it's true, he's right. People buckle down and do what they have to do. They for the most part are respecting the one hour limit and aren't going back trying for a third half hour.

I think I am going to put the OS X machine sitting on the floor by my desk out as the email terminal, eventually. That way we'll have a computer with international fonts out as something that isn't carded. First I have to find a way to keep Safari from closing. Or educate the world on actually opening it.


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