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I can't moderate! I have a gajillion moderator points and no comments out there to mod...it doesn't really matter to me but I think that this is one area where the Slashcode doesn't scale as well to a smaller number of users. With fewer people using the site, there are less flamewars/comments, hence less work for those who would be happy to moderate if they were so inclined.
Okay, they weren't in the belfry. There was a poor little bat stuck in the assistant director's office last night when I went up there to vent about how freaking stupid one of our computer vendors is. I have to thank that little bat, who was tired and scared out of his little bat mind, for getting my mind off the evil cheapo power supply they stick in these computers and on to his little plight. The custodians set him free once he perched low enough.
Today I have to call the aforementioned vendor and ask them exactly what they did, if anything, to the computer. My guess is they're going to say it didn't exhibit the problem there. Whether they actually tested it, I don't know. I somehow doubt it. I am going to tell them to hook up a voltage meter to it. The last thing I want is the power supply pooping out and taking the motherboard, chip, and possibly drives with it.
Mr. Server came down and up and down and up and down and up yet again without incident. I can get the Macs and Mr. Server to see each other, but they are having a very hard time with communicating. We also aren't set up for DHCP on the print server. I think that is causing a problem with the macs, who seem to want us to be. I don't think it's the problem, but it's a problem. I need a book on Appletalk and Windows specifically. I've done the seed routing and installed the protocols. Upgrading the Mac OS might help too.
I worked reference all alone yesterday. It went fine, except for a slight snafu at the internet terminals. But what's unusual there? Time management software, here I come.
I get google news updates for various keywords. I used to teach high school physics and math, so I like seeing what articles Google is finding. I search for "educator" and "teacher" and get separate emails for each. What I notice is that, usually, "teacher" is associated with a lot more negative news than is "educator."
Yes, there's some positive and negative used with both terms, but the headline news Google finds tends to be as I describe above. It's odd. I don't like it.
...if he heard about President Bush and Prime Minister Blair being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. AP story here . I thought I was hallucinating when I saw the headline.
I am not, really, an environmentalist. We recycle. Yes. I work at a library where every last scrap of paper is used, but more due to budget constraints than environment, although it's a nice side benefit. But today, we are putting a deposit down on a mondo-cool Toyota Prius.
The Prius is a gas/electric hybrid car. It's a big one, too, an actual full sized car this time around, not a compact. Toyota's coming out with a whole line of hybrid versions of their regular old cars. I think the Rav 4 is now available, and the Highlander will be available next year.
Tell me (open for discussion here) do your libraries require card access to use the internet? We currently don't, but we're wondering about perhaps changing that. Just to eliminate some fights in the long run. And hopefully increase library usage. I mean, library usage, not "free internet" usage.
This isn't a Toyota advertisement, I'm just really psyched about that.
Back to libraries tomorrow, dear LISNews readers. There is a print server with my name, for better or for worse, written all over it.
The issue of censorship is a much like a rented mule, used and beaten six ways to Sunday. My contention has been that the "jack-ass" of soccer moms and deacon daddies is disingenuous and that "hidden" liberal censors are as much, if not more culpable.
Diane Ravitch's, The Language Police (A. Knopf 2003, 0375414827) vindicates my position with a cogent and clearly documented history of her personal experience working with the bias review boards within American test and textbook publishers. The travesty of this "censorship" is its scope and impact upon our children as compared to the flavor of censorship ALA prefers to attack. The "censorship" Ravitch exposes is much more insidious, involving a captured audience of nearly all American school age children to be "educated" by social engineering review boards.
Ne're a word from ALA.
The Council on Interracial Books for Children, National Organization for Women, American Library Association, NAACP, and bias review boards for every major textbook and test publisher are all major players in "censoring" what our children read. For the edification of my "freedom of speech" colleagues this book is a must read. Anything less is willful ignorance.
Some Language Police nuggets:
* A passage on peanuts and George Washington Carver was pooh poohed because bias reviewers opposed the term "African slave". They also objected to the historically correct fact that Spanish and Portuguese explorers defeated "native tribes".
*Bias reviewer rejected a passage about economic necessity of nineteenth century women who quilted for family income because portrayed women as "soft" and "submissive".
* An inspiring piece about a blind man who climbed Mount McKinley was purged because it suggested that "sightless" people might be somehow disadvantaged in mountain climbing as compared to sighted folks.
* The bias reviewers did like Aesop's The Fox and the Crow, just not the gender of the characters. They proposed making both characters the same sex or the fox female and the crow male.
* A Native American animal fable edited by William J Bennett was tossed out because it told of animals "emerging from the darkness to find sunlight". Apparently bias reviewers felt some type of racial bias with this.
* An eco-friendly story (or at least one would assume) about a rotting stump that provided shelter and food for animals was chopped because the writer made the mistake of comparing it to an apartment. Seems the bias review board felt this contained a negative stereotype of people who live in apartments.
* In 2001 Houghton Mifflin added new criteria for their editors regarding African Americans. Stories about slavery, Underground Railroad, dialect, or depictions of athletes, musicians or entertainers should be avoided. Asians should not be portrayed as prodigies or valedictorians, Latinos not as migrant workers or illegal aliens and "disabled persons" not as pirates, witches or criminals (no more Captain Hook)
* Barbara Cohen's Molly's Pilgrim, a story about a Russian Jewish immigrant girl's first Thanksgiving in America, was accepted by a textbook publisher. Unfortunately all mention of Jews, Sukkos, God and the Bible had been removed on behalf of atheists who would object.
*Stephen Vincent Benet's The Devil and Daniel Webster was "edited" as well. For example, "Help me! For God's sake, help me!" was changed to "Help me! I beg of you, help me!" . Walter Van Tilburg Clark's The Ox-Bow Incident had one of it's lines "By the Lord God, men" changed to "By heaven, men". Again, the atheists.
*Not only are McGraw-Hill illustrators required to maintain a 50-50 balance between sexes in their art, they are required to include captions when a women were not full participants. George Washington crossing the Delaware must include a caption pointing out women were excluded from important military roles until the late twentieth century. Some other guidelines forbid:
The list of "outlawed" words is lengthy. In fact it is a dictionary in and of itself. A sampling:
I got the blessing to take down the server whenever I wanted, even in the middle of the afternoon while people are clamoring to go online. I am going to do it Monday morning, when I am fresh, and the server is fresh, and we're all just fresh fresh fresh. I am sure that our regulars will be ripped, but I got permission to take all morning if it came to it. I am really hoping it doesn't, but it might be the only way I can get stuff really done. Putting big "IN USE" signs on the Macs when I start Appletalk has been a big disappointment as far as keeping the public away from where I'm working. They simply move the signs and sit their hineys down.
I had a nice lady tell me the computer crashed today (one of the Macs) and I came and restarted it for her. She was nice in that she said, "I would have done it, but I didn't think you guys would like that much." I told her we appreciated that.
I also met a very nice young man from a local high school doing a paper on a subject we had not many books about. We got him set up on InfoTrac, which he thought was "cool," and we got him some books through ILL. The good word: "This assignment is due in a month and a half." Plenty of time to get him a book or two. This kid is my new hero.
I also played Dr. Frankenstein with a Dell and an IBM and a Compaq. Now we have an almost functioning machine again. And it won't be a bad one, either, when it is fully functioning. As far as five year old donated machines go.
One of the memes I desperately try to smother whenever I see it is "Only blindly-naive liberals are against anti-terror laws. They've been brainwashed by the ACLU!"
"Government officials typically respond to terrorist attacks by proposing and enacting "antiterrorism" legislation. To assuage the wide-spread anxiety of the populace, policymakers make the dubious claim that they can prevent terrorism by curtailing the privacy and civil liberties of the people. Because everyone wants to be safe and secure, such legislation is usually very popular and passes the legislative chambers of Congress with lopsided majorities. As the president signs the antiterrorism bill into effect, too many people indulge in the assumption that they are now safe, since the police, with their newly acquired powers, will somehow be able to foil the terrorists before they can kill again. The plain truth, however, is that it is only a matter of time before the next attack.
This cycle of terrorist attack followed by government curtailment of civil liberties must be brokenâ€”or our society will eventually lose the key attribute that has made it great: freedom. The American people can accept the reality that the president and Congress are simply not capable of preventing terrorist attacks from occurring. Policymakers should stop pretending otherwise and focus their attention on combating terrorism within the framework of a free society."
This 21 page report goes to catalog a number of the errors made prior to 9/11 that were NOT addressed by the USA PATRIOT Act and other "security laws" and reminds readers of prior abuses of gov't power. The report concludes with some suggestions that the author believes would make a more tangible contribution to security than expanded government powers.
Here's one last quote I think deserves mention:
"Freedom is not, was not, and will never be, a free good. Anyone who wants it must be prepared to defend it. And defending it necessarily carries the risk of seriously bodily injury or death. A free and independent people must take responsibility for their own safety and deal with their vulnerability in a mature fashion. A free and independent people should not expect supernatural powers from their president."
In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention this report makes the passing suggestion that the best defense against terror is a good offense. Not in the sense of invading and occupying entire countries, but in the sense of sending assaination squads against terrorist leaders. While I don't have a good answer to this, I can't believe such a policy would be any more effective than Israel's policy of killing terrorist leaders. There seems to be a neverending supply of people to take up the terror leadership. I suspect that we'd find the same.
The CATO Institute, for people unfamilar with it, describes itself this way:
"The Cato Institute seeks to broaden the parameters of public policy debate to allow consideration of the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets and peace. Toward that goal, the Institute strives to achieve greater involvement of the intelligent, concerned lay public in questions of policy and the proper role of government."
I love these posts! I hope Robin Rose Yuran decides to contribute more "Stuff Barb Don't Want," althought I haven't seen anything lately.
I guess this means I like what I do, which is naturally a good thing. Believe me, I've had jobs where every minute is a living hell. This one, every minute is challenging, but in general a good experience.
Filtering software is my nemesis. Not because I have feelings about filtering one way or the other, really, but more because it's so damn easy to forget to enable it. I think I may have forgotten on one computer. Ahem. It shall remain nameless, but honestly is positioned in such a place and manner, that if you really wanted to view porn on it, everyone would know. I'll get to it tomorrow morning, first thing, and check. I was so preoccupied on this particular terminal with getting the silly security software fixed, the filtering software was far from my mind. What it is: Boston has it in front of their firewall. Or something. Boston actually has it though. And it's a serious case of out of sight out of mind for me.
I guess my concern with having one unfiltered terminal with many filtered ones (soon to be two unfiltered terminals with many filtered ones) is that it seems to be giving permission to view porn. I heard a staff member (not a librarian) say, "What can you say when they view it?" Well, you can say, "That's not appropriate in the library." But then I thought... well, look what we did. We positioned the terminal facing away from everything else, behind a column -- the patrons are hidden at these terminals. If I say something to the person there about what they're viewing, it makes it uncomfortably obvious that I was looking at what they were doing, and that bothers me. I don't want the patrons to feel like they have to hide when the librarian comes by.
I'd like to at least have the terminals facing inward, or turned around, or moved... And it sort of bothers me that terminal 2, which is currently down, is right by the young adult room.
LAN connections are at a premium in the library. Wireless would be good in this respect, at least for us. We could put those unfiltereds anywhere. We could put staff computers anywhere. But there are still a lot of unknowns for me in that respect, so it's still a future project.
Perhaps a policy in place, something written in our Unfiltered Policies section, would be a nice way to give us an out if we notice someone viewing something they shouldn't. I have declared no printing from the unfiltered terminals. I just don't want Johnny's print out from InfoTrac mixed in with Cindy's Hot and Dirty WebCam. People have made mistakes and printed out the wrong stuff already, so I think it's a sound suggestion.
Off to read about AppleTalk. And call my mom.
January is as good as over so it seems like a good time to look back at 2004 and see how things are going. First, a bit on referrals to LISNews. Google 14,308 (3,300 for the week), Yahoo, 4,056 (945). That's the number of referrals LISNews got this month. I'm mentioning that because of the fact that Yahoo has dropped, or is going to drop google soon, and some people seem to think that's a big deal. I'm thinking nothing will change for most sites, but it'll be interesting to watch. MSN is third at 1972 (441), and AOL is a distant 4th at 728 (192). Overall google accounts for almost 54% of all search engine referrals, and that's just google.com. It's rare that a non-search engine, non-rwss reader shows up in the top ten, this week Jessamyn has sent well over a hundred surfers our way. memepool sent a whopping 2,000 folks our wa for the month as well.
There were 3 RSS files in the top ten most popular pages this month. We had a daily average of just over 4,000 people a day, about 51,000 hits a day, and we served about 11,000 pages a day.
I'd also say this is the month the Journals really got interesting. Overall the journals were read about 20,000 times this month. The most popular being:
Great Western Dragon 118
Monday I get to take down my first Windows 2003 server. Looks fairly straightforward. I guess there's some function that asks why you're shutting down. I suppose I should put down something useful in that field, rather than, 'Because I want to!'
So why am I shutting down? Well, I can ping (god, I love networking terms) the Apples, but that's about it. I want to see if I can enable AppleTalk. And I have to get the permanent license up on our print server. For some reason that requires restarting the program. Since I have to take the whole thing down anyway, well, then, I guess I'll just take the whole thing down anyway.
Today I went to fix some stuff at the branch library. I wish all computer problems were as simple as these... reinstall IE, and whamo! We're up and running again. I found a bit of adware on the computers, but I think she actually uses it. So I didn't remove it.
I was there till six, and then I excused myself. My husband was nuts, thinking I was kidnapped or something on my way home.
At the public access terminals: Terminal 7 is, right now, just a monitor. No keyboard. No mouse. And most importantly, no box. I like to count how many people come in and say, "Is seven down?" Um. Do the math. Also at the public access terminals: Today a guy came in to use the computers, and actually erased somebody else's name that was on the sign up sheet, before the actual reservation time. Hello. Even better, he actually erased it and put in his real name.
So when the guy who legitimately made his appointment came up and said, "Insertnamehere erased my name", Mr. Insertnamehere turned around and looked to see who was talking about him. Smooth operator, Mr. Insertnamehere.
I ordered an eval version of software and realized I shouldn't have today. I don't think they charge for it... But I guess it's not our policy. But eval software isn't functional like, say, an eval reference book is.
I think I'm okay. I confessed, anyway.
Today I went into the children's room, and the children's librarian clapped when she saw me. It was like having my own show. I am going up there and making an entrance more often.
I'm continually surprised at the personal stories that patrons share in the course of trying to find information. Yesterday, a 20-something guy came in, looking for an article about a new Illinois law that extends the statute of limitations for people who, as children, were molested by clerics. I found an article, but wanted to find the statute. Since it's so new, it hadn't been added to the statutes, so it was taking me a long time. While we were looking, the guy, without any sort of prompting, spilled his whole story to me. The armchair psychologist in me was trying to figure out his motive for telling me this very personal story, but regardless of the reason, I found it remarkable and was reminded of the awesome responsibility that sometimes comes to us as information providers. This guy knows nothing about me, my viewpoint, my education or training, but he trusted me to help him with something that would be best handled by a counselor and a lawyer, all because I'm a LIBRARIAN. This isn't a unique situation--I'm sure you all have similar stories. It's just humbling and, at times, alarming, to realize how much power and authority some people assume librarians have.
This is a week of field trips for me. Today I got to go to a computer shop that will remain nameless, so that the computer could work perfectly there. Well. I told them to hold on to the stupid computer and keep hitting the power button periodically. I swear, every other computer we have starts just dandy. It's gotta be the power supply.
Tomorrow I'm taking a trip to our branch library (packing some antivirus software with me) so that I can figure out a few issues she's having there. It sounds like nothing a simple reinstall of IE can't fix. Of course, Opera would be my browser of choice.
Through the wonders of a little program called WinsockFix, I got the damned 169.xxx.xxx IP address to release on the children's room Dell and reassigned it a new IP address. It was so easy. I wish I thought of it before.
Not such good news about the IBM in the children's room. One day it went to sleep and just never woke up. A great way for someone who's lived a rich long life to go, not so great for a computer. At least, not on my watch. Best I can tell, because there isn't a fan in the thing, and the children's room has the tendency to accumulate... well, stuff... around the vents, the chip cooked. Now I have extra memory to play with. And hard drives. And CD ROM drives.
But what we really need is like three more functioning computers.
Today a fight broke out over the internet terminals... an honest to goodness, we had to call the police fight. Thank god for our reference librarian (who was systems before me). I would have let them probably take each other out of the gene pool if they're going to fight like that over something other than food or shelter. I love technology: the internet is a good thing. It's not worth being a stinkin' barbarian over, though.
I am running our eval version of the time management software, while waiting for another vendor to contact me with their eval version as well. This seems to be reaching critical mass. I'd like to get the Macs printing, and leave the Macs up for non-card holders and the PCs for card holders. Simply necessity: They don't seem to make time management software for Macs. Suggestions are welcome (hint hint).
Monday, Horizon is being updated. Joy. I forsee lots of phone calls to Boston in my future.
I wasn't in trouble. Basically the whole story got twisted around in Boston, and came back to me that the assistant director called... when it was really me that called. Does this mean I got a promotion?
Today I have to bring the new computer that is tempermental about starting to the computer shop. I think it's a bad power supply. It's a cheapo brand 300 watt powering a cd rom and an A drive. I should probably get the vital stats on those machines. I think it's running at least a P3, quite possibly a P4 chip. At any rate, it starts every fifth time you press the button.
I doubt it's our wall outlets, which was the other possibility, because everything else starts just dandy.
I got my antivirus software at work just in time. Loads of it. I've installed some of it. I got the new virus in my inbox... Unicode text, binary attachment. I sent out a warning about it, figuring if I got it, it was probably blanket emailed to everyone at the library. I'm sure someone will click on it. Perhaps I should be sure to send my little message to the branch library as well. I just don't have the address right now.
Incredibly polite high man came in last night. He thanked me for removing him from the computer when we were closing.
Know what I like about working at the library versus working retail? At closing time, the library throws people's butts out of the library. No needing to hang around while people poke at the lizards and tease the turtles and decide whether they want to purchase the $.99 can of fish food.
Tomorrow, a trip to the branch library to figure out what's up with IE. Of course, I'd just install Opera and be done with it if it were up to me. I am so tempted to do it on all the public access terminals. Expand your horizons! Download an alternative browser today!
Warning: This is one of those "everybody should be just like me" entriesâ€¦
Seems like everyone is saying the end of the free web is coming, thanks to low click
through rates and increasing costs.
I like the idea that the web is for sharing and part of how I choose to pay for reading sites is by clicking on an ad. Slashdot and fark get several a day from me, while I've sent matt a couple bucks to keep mefi going. I try and support the sites I really like and use all the time.
But there's other ways to pay or get paid back. The search engines web dude
is a good example of that. Whatever his motivations are in submitting so
many stories, I pay him back by having a link back to his site on his
submissions. Each link, especially the ones that I change to "search engine
submissions" is my payment to him for sending in a story. It doesn't really cost anyone anything, but we both get something we need.
At LISNews, I like to think people pay us back by suggesting stories and clicking on
the google ads, but the former is true much more than the latter. The ads
have a click-through rate of well under 1% and if we're lucky we'll get
maybe 5 good submissions a day, most days it's more like one or two. But that's still pretty good, anything is better than nothing in the submissions area.
There's other ways to pay it back on the web, paypal and amazon both have
tip jar apps written, and bitpass and others are trying to make a go of the
second generation micropaymets system. It'll be interesting to see how those grow, or die.
First off, yes, I am neurotic.
So last night, none of our catalogers could catalog, thanks to some network problems with Boston. Try getting someone in Boston at 4:59 pm. I managed to get a human being (not an answering machine) at about 5:03. Of course, he's not really the "fix the cataloging" problems guy, but he was a human being who could physically find another human being who could help fix the problem.
He was suitably apalled that we couldn't save records, so he went off in search of someone that could help me. Then I was told by the other librarians to get home, because I was making them look bad working overtime.
I probably should have stuck around, maybe, just a little... See where my neurosis comes in? I've been there a little under a month. Man, I am hard on myself. Anyway, this morning, I check my email (see where my neurosis comes in yet again?) and there is a message from the assistant director saying that he got someone in Boston and explained the problem and had it fixed.
Perhaps I should whip out the big guns before I go through the "proper channels" next time. Because the proper channels said, "I'm going home. Email me in the morning." Then, I didn't know how widespread the problem was. Reading between the lines (a key neurotic symptom) certainly makes it seem as though there were other issues going on I didn't know about. I need to implement some sort of reporting system.
The problem is, the support staff doesn't come to me a lot of the time when there is a problem. The other librarians, fortunately, do. Sometimes, if it's a problem with a particular record, I tell them to wait it out. But that certainly isn't the case every time. I don't know what would motivate them, though, to come tell me consistently. I would have a log book, but I don't think anyone would actually use it. Besides, people think it's something they did when the SQL error comes up, not something that the system did.
I also have to get better at being pushy. Like, there is a problem with Horizon today, fix it.
Never been a real supervisor before. I mean, I've supervised people, but never to this extent. Still wrestling with my promotion from peon to, um, less of a peon.
Upon reading about the Florida state library and its proposed exile by Governor Jeb Bush, I've concluded that there are a lot of strange governors out there. How did they get elected? Well, we sort of know how Gov. Schwartzenegger got elected (at least it hasn't left our collective memories as yet)... Same goes for my governor, George Pataki, former mayor of Poughkeepsie ...how did HE make it to the Governors mansion? Who's your governor, and how's he/she doing? Please add your comments...especially you Connecticut residents.
The fates were conspiring against me today. First, my supervisor and trainer called in, so I got to do the schedule in her place. It wouldn't have been a problem, except that there was no Monday schedule from last week to base it on. It was time to get creative. The trickiest thing was making sure everyone got lunch.
Fortunately, the info desk was very quiet from nine to ten, when I was the only librarian in the building.
Then I got a sales pitch from a vendor that shall remain nameless. I requested it, but I sort of had like twelve thousand other things going on, and just wanted very basic information. I hope I wasn't too rude.
I realized our Mac security software works poorly with IE. I ended up installing Netscape. I played some games though. First I left the icon for AIM up on the screen, and when you (try to) sign in, nothing happens. I centered the sign that says "No Instant Messaging" right above it. Tech librarian humor.
I also uninstalled Flash and Real Player. I'll be damned if someone is looking at movies at our ten minute Internet email terminal!
It made me smile... Someone tried to install Flash within twenty minutes of my putting it out there. But they couldn't download or execute it. Mwahahahahahahaha!
I also met with incredibly gross man today. First he was complaining because copies were $.15. Then he was upset because all our books on a certain trade exam were missing. But I showed him where the given trade books were anyway. And boy, could this guy burp. He illustrated his talents often... At the info desk, in the reading room, down the stairs, in the stacks. We're not talking little, "Oh, excuse me" burps, we're talking break the sound barrier, I just drank a whole keg of carbonated beer sort of burp.
At 4:58 (these things always happen between 4:55-4:59), Horizon started doing flips in Boston. None of our catalogers could catalog. So at 5:15 I was putting in a few extra minutes to give Boston a call. I think everyone went home.
Then I meant to send an email to the assistant director, and everyone got a copy. Whoops. Best be fixing my address book. At least there wasn't anything I'd say to my assistant director that I wouldn't say to any of the librarians.
What is it about growing up in poverty/depravation that appeals to the American voter? Those of the Dems who can attest to being from modest beginnings are screaming it from the rooftops. Ok, so Dean and Kerry are affluent. Their parents were educated. They were privileged as children...they were probably read to each night at bedtime! Why apologize? I can't imagine any other country on earth where candidates for the highest office would be ashamed to have sprung from comfortable beginnings. What is it about modest means that appeals to us Yanks?
On the other hand, President Bush
of course grew up with a diamond-encrusted platinum spoon in his mouth. Hey, maybe that's why he has so much trouble talking.