Walt's blog

Firefox bookmark-icons

Here's an oddity, maybe even an excuse for someone much more hip to internet code to show off their stuff.

If you've used Firefox (or, I assume, some other Mozilla/Netscape variants), you've probably noticed that some bookmark rectangles (the folded-corner page where you click, left of the name) get replaced by mini-icons when you first visit the site. Wired News turns into a little W on a red background, LISNews a big L with little IS tucked inside it, Bloglines a capital B, and so on.

Flag burning

One of LISNews' illustrious posters, in commenting on book burning, threw in a question as to whether we supported a Constitutional amendment to ban flag burning.

I didn't respond there because the question was so off-topic.

I find the question interesting because, as far as I know, the only approved way to dispose of a worn-out or damaged U.S. flag is to burn it. Anything else is considered inappropriate.

Followup (now there's a great subject heading)

As a result of an earlier ill-written journal entry, I have added a couple of blogs to my Bloglines account, and have found the results interesting. Thanks to those who suggested them.

I haven't added any LISNews journals because I come directly to LISNews, and check recent postings directly here. Not to start another argument, but I have to say that I find most of the journal entries of mdoneil, ChuckB, Bibliofuture, and kctipton--THIS IS NOT A COMPLETE LIST!--thoughtful and thought-provoking. (Yes, there are others, but those four come immediately to mind.)


Sorry about that, Blake. Seems to me there are at least 20 journals here more interesting than my infrequent, erratic posts... but who am I to argue with results?

I figure people check to see whether I'll succeed in starting yet another "controversy" through use of even sloppier language and thinking than in Cites & Insights. And by the time they find out that I haven't started another flamewar, it's too late.

Quick non-program Orlando notes

I'm back in the moderately-warm, low-humidity Silicon Valley. I might have comments about programs and encounters at ALA Annual later (here or elsewhere), or I might not. Meanwhile, a quick personal note about the site.

No disrespect to south Floridians, but blecch. At least as an ALA site. I was expecting the heat (which I like) and the humidity (which, combined with the heat, left me feeling 80 years old after ten minutes outside). Those I could deal with.

I wasn't expecting the sheer distances, pedestrian hostility, and general inconvenience of getting from one place to another--and the lack of anything like a "downtown core" in the whole conference area.

I think the conference arrangements people did the best they could with shuttles, and Gale must have spent a fortune on the busses, what with nine different routes. But at most conferences, you don't need shuttles for most programs if you're willing to walk 15-20 minutes. Here--well, unless the session was in the CC or at the Peabody, Rosen Centre, or Rosen Plaza (and you could remember which Rosen was which), you were in trouble.

I wound up doing a geosliced schedule: Except for mandatory events, I dropped those that weren't at one of those four sites. The same thing happened with Miami/Miami Beach. I don't think Orlando was quite as inconvenient as Miami. But it sure wasn't convenient--and, until last weekend, I'd never thought about the extent to which most ALA sites (Midwinter and Annual alike) really are fairly pedestrian-friendly.

That being said, it was a worthwhile conference. I missed the big social events (Scholarship Bash, both the F911 showing and the new Disney "everything's wonderful in America" movie showing that nobody mentions, but that was well-publicized and actually free, etc.) but managed all of the exhibits, some receptions, the program I was part of, and two or three other programmatic sessions. And, as usual, ran into a few hundred friends and acquaintances I only see twice a year.

One other thing: I don't get targeted ALA exhibitor mailings since I'm not a likely buyer (not being in a library, and all that). But I got more exhibitor mailings this year than I can remember in the past decade or more--seemed like half our mail on some days was postcards and flyers for ALA exhibitors. Unfortunately, half a dozen of them arrived way too late to do any good--including two that arrived yesterday!

and now for something completely different

I'm sure someone will find this controversial, but here goes anyway.

The land hereabouts used to be orchards. While it's pretty much all housing (7,000sf lots typical) now, and absurdly expensive, the land itself is still high-quality. Not as good as where I grew up, maybe, but good.

We haven't planted trees (we've only been in this house for six years), but when we got here, there was one Meyer lemon tree in the back yard--and, across the back fence, an apricot tree with lots of limbs overhanging our yard. We don't use pesticides or much of anything else; we know our neighbors-to-the-back don't either.

For the last couple of years, we've been supplying work with Meyer lemons during prime ripening season--picking, rinsing, and bringing in 50-90 lemons a week for five-eight weeks. (We keep a few for our own use, but neither of us use lemons much.) If you don't know Meyer lemons--well, they're the big, relatively sweet, highly flavorful lemons that make supermarket lemons look and taste like travesties. Unfortunately, they don't ship well, and when you do see them in markets, they're likely to cost $1 each or more. (High-class restaurants love them for desserts, where the pies, tarts, etc. are always identified as Meyer lemon whatever.) In our microclimate, parts of Mountain View and Los Altos, it's notoriously true that one established Meyer lemon tree will produce hundreds, maybe more than a thousand, high-quality lemons.

More directly to the non-point, this year our neighbor's apricot tree was highly productive, and my wife's been picking some of the apricots on our side of the fence (observing that the neighbor just lets them fall). I've been having two with breakfast each morning this week.

Fresh apricots--ripe apricots, off the tree--are one of the greatest fruits around. As far as I know, it's just not possible to buy decent apricots in a store: To ship at all, they have to be picked too green, and never ripen properly. I grew up with fresh apricots (in Modesto, you grow up with fresh everything!), and I'd just given up on eating them... until this week.

Makes it hard to fly to Orlando, missing not only a few days of wonderful apricots but the return of Bing cherries (another guilty pleasure, but one that does ship).

Mea culpa

Good grief. I apologize profoundly for the previous journal entry. I should really know better.

Although it has been educational. Greater minds than mine have told me:

What I know and don't know, e.g., about who has weblogs (They're psychic!) (And they presumably know which weblogs I already do and don't read.)

What matters and what's irrelevant.

That I don't know much about conservatives.

Guess I'll just go on my ignorant way. Albeit with one weblog added to my aggregator.

Weblogs of thoughtful conservative librarians?

Rory: I am not suggesting any change in LISNews policy. This post has nothing to do with LISNews.

If people have thoughtful conservative-librarian weblogs to suggest, I'll add them to my personal Bloglines list, nothing to do with LISNews or anyone else, at least for a while.

"Thoughtful" equals, at a minimum:

Being able to differentiate between liberal and socialist

Being able to distinguish between the commons and socialism

Being able to distinguish constitutional conservatives from neocons.

Two in 12 days? What's wrong here?

So you'll see in the stories (assuming someone else approves it--I may have "author" status but I won't approve my own postings on C&I) that the promised pre-Annual Conference Cites & Insights (July 2004, volume 4, issue 9) is out, actually three days earlier than the planned June 21 pub date.

That's 11 days after the special Mid-June issue.

How can I square this with previous journal entries about being overrun by real-world events?

Simple: Panic.

Dressing down in Orlando

Last time ALA Annual was in New Orleans, someone at headquarters did a smart thing: They suggested, through a variety of means, that we all dress down for the occasion--shuck those coats & ties in the heat and humidity of the Big Easy.

When life intrudes

Sometimes the vicissitudes of real life intrude more than you'd like--but that's what makes it real.

Last week was pretty much a washout because of such vicissitudes--and, looking back, I think the last few weeks have been affected.

Cites & Insights donations now activated

Thanks to your comments and others, I've made one plunge: PayPal and Amazon Honors System are both now available if you'd like to donate to help support Cites & Insights

Donations are entirely voluntary--and I think they're generally anonymous as well. (This is all new to me.)

I would still greatly appreciate opinions on possible value-added services, specifically:

Only in California/San Francisco

Yesterday: Long story in the paper about this year's high-profile murder case, relating the desire of the victim to raise her family in "small-town" Modesto. The same article called Modesto a "town" elsewhere, noting its population of a few years ago (188,000) in the same sentence. (Population is now 202,000.)

Where but in California could a place of 202,000 population, not in any sense a suburb, be called a town--much less a "small town"?

Ohio State's "technology for the rest of us" seminars

Just a quick note, because I may or may not get around to writing this up elsewhere:

I spent last week at Ohio State University (or getting there and back), participating in three of four days of a remarkably well-designed and worthwhile event, "Technology for the rest of us: What every librarian should understand about the technologies that affect us."

Each day offered two two-hour sessions, one from 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m., the second from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Continental breakfast was available before the first talk (which was preceded by a few minutes of welcoming comments).

Monday--which I missed--featured Robert E. Molyneux (NCLIS) on networking and Bill Drew on wireless networking. I'm informed that both did a great job. (Had dinner with Bill and a few OSU people Monday evening; first time I've met him F2F, I believe)

Tuesday, I talked about OpenURL in the morning; Thomas J. Lynch, III (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) discussed Internet2 in the afternoon. My presentation was my first use of PowerPoint (outside RLG) in five years, was more work than any speech I've done in years, offered something I'm apparently uniquely qualified to do (a middle section showing 20 variations on how libraries use OpenURL), and was great fun to do. I'd love to do something similar elsewhere...

Wednesdy had Peter Murray (U. Connecticut) on security and Ron Gilmour (U. Tennessee) on XML.

Thursday had Sarah Shreeves (U. Illinois Urbana-Champaign) on the Open Archives Initiative Protocol and, in the afternoon, MacKenzie Smith (MIT) and Charly Bauer (OhioLINK) on institutional repositories.

I went to make a presentation. I stayed because I thought I could learn some things. I was right: The presentations were enormously informative. The timing and balance were such that I--and I think the 100-odd librarians who attended--had time to let material sink in and gain insights without being overwhelmed.

A first-rate event, one that might usefully be emulated (with a LOT of effort!) elsewhere.

I believe most presentations are or will be available at the conference website.

Feedback Desired, and Notice of Absence

Here's where I really would like comments--but don't expect a response until May 28 or later, because I'll be Internet-free until then.
(That's also true if you send email to my usual email addresses regarding this stuff: Expect delayed response.)

Specifically: If you read Cites & Insights and want to see it continue, which of these possible means of support would interest you?

With fear and loathing...

I'm still not ready for a weblog, but playing around with a "weblog lite" might make sense.

Don't expect loads of postings, and for sure don't expect the stuff you'd find in Cites & Insights. If that's an experiment (still, after 4.5 years), this is really experimental.


Subscribe to RSS - Walt's blog