November 2006

Google Ends ‘Google Answers’ Project

Search-Engines writes

Google is a company fueled by innovation, which to us means trying lots of new things all the time — and sometimes it means reconsidering our goals for a product. Later this week, we will stop accepting new questions in Google Answers, the very first project we worked on here.
If you have a chance, we encourage you to browse through the questions posted over the last 4+ years. Although we won’t be accepting any new questions, the existing Qs and As are available. We’ll stop accepting new Answers to questions by the end of the year ogle-answers.html

Are PLs Treasonous, or Government Censors Slack?

Fang-Face writes “An article at the MSNBC News web site, Nuclear plant info available to public: NBC News investigation finds sensitive documents in libraries, reveals how hidden camera investigators were able to walk into public libraries and cull “sensitive information” on vulnerabilities from what was available to the public. In the context of Bush administration “War on Terror” hysteria, this situation raises the question: Are public libraries soft on terrorism, or is the government soft on censorship?”

Libraries Aren’t What They Used to Be

The Columbia Missourian reports: “Kathryn De la Rosa recalls hanging around Centralia’s library at the end of the 1930s, when it was located on the city hall’s second floor. Once, the librarian called De la Rosa’s mother to check whether De la Rosa’s book was age-appropriate.

“You don’t get that in big-city libraries” said De la Rosa, now 73.”

The library is now strapped for cash, and might have to limit hours, merge with another library or close.

Design Your Own Penguin Book Cover

JET writes “from boingboing

Penguin has released six classic titles with pure white, art-quality covers for people to design their own book jackets. Titles include The Picture of Dorian Gray,Magic Tales from the Brothers Grimm and Emma.”

9 out of 10 e-mails now spam Criminal gangs using hijacked computers are behind a surge in unwanted e-mails peddling sex, drugs and stock tips.

The number of “spam” messages has tripled since June and now accounts for as many as nine out of 10 e-mails sent worldwide, according to U.S. email security company Postini.

As Christmas approaches, the daily trawl through in-boxes clogged with offers of fake Viagra, loans and sex aids is tipped to take even longer.

“E-mail systems are overloaded or melting down trying to keep up with all the spam,” said Dan Druker, a vice president at Postini.

His company has detected 7 billion spam e-mails worldwide in November compared to 2.5 billion in June. Spam in Britain has risen by 50 percent in the last two months alone, according to Internet security company SurfControl.

Library Seen as Way to Give Downtown Zip

hollysue writes “From the Columbian in Vancouver, WA comes an article about how the city hopes a new main library will help revitalize its downtown area:

“Downtowns are a place for people to live, work, play and shop. But even the district’s advocates say Vancouver still has a way to go on the play and shopping pieces.

A 90,000-square-foot library, which took a giant step forward when voters approved a $43 million bond measure in September, could provide an infusion of people when it’s built as part of the $165 million Riverwest project.”

Sony Reader: my take

From the Journal.

As Anirvan mentioned, I recently bought a Sony Reader. Here’s my take:

The first thing that really strikes you about the Reader is the screen. The new electric paper technology really delivers. The screen is not backlit, so it requires external light in order to read. It’s supposed to more closely mimic paper, and it gets close. When I first booted the device, my roommate asked me if the screen still had a sticker on it–that’s how nice the screen looks. I’ve been using the device at home and on the bus, and have never had problems reading it.

Blog entry continued here.

Xerox Seeks Erasable Form of Paper for Copiers

During the 1970s, researchers at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center explored a software technique called garbage collection; used for recycling computer memory. The technique allowed the automatic reuse of blocks of memory that were storing unused programs and data.

Today an anthropologist at the center, Brinda Dalal, has become a self-styled garbologist; to assist in a joint effort with chemists at the Xerox Research Center of Canada to develop an system. The goal is to recycle paper documents produced by the company’s copiers potentially an unlimited number of times. Story continued here.

“In My Book” Cards: Great Librarian Gift Ideas

Next to a BOOK, what’s the best present to give a book-loving friend? (or to keep for yourself?)

Why the elegant, long-line cards available at In My Book.

Add one to the gift of a book, put in a gift certificate to your local bookstore, or if you’re feeling generous, throw in a wad of cash!

(LISNews author “birdie” is actually Robin K. Blum, who runs In My Book when she’s not busy posting stories here. Support her hard work @LISNews by buying some cards!)