Monday, February 27, 2006

R.I.P. Jeeves

Ask Jeeves is now butler-less and has become simply Poor Jeeves was laid off.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Book Signing at a Distance?

You've got to be kidding me! According to Mark Flanagan of About Literature: Contemporary, there is new gizmo on the market (brought to you by Margaret Atwood and Unotchit, whose title in the title bar at the top of the browser is actually Unotchitd.. haha) that enables authors to sign their books while relaxing in their own homes. The video showing how this device works keeps locking up on me, which is highly disappointing. I'm really quite curious!

But what I can't get away from is the idea that this really takes away from the experience of the fans. Why not just request a signed copy via the mail or something equally unexciting? Part of the fun of a book signing would be the experience of meeting the author. In person! Wouldn't it?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Informality of Email

The New York Times has an interesting article called "To: Subject: Why It's All About Me." It talks about how informal and even inappropriate students' emails to their professor can be. By inappropriate they are referring to asking questions about school supplies (to get a binder or to get a notebook, that is the question), asking for lecture notes when they've missed class (that is the student's responsibility to get that from classmates - the prof may not have readily available class notes), and so on.

As an instructor, I have noticed this informality to some degree, not in the sense that my students are requesting things of me that they should not be (no one has asked for lecture notes or anything), but rather the lack of capitalization and punctuation that probably stems from IM use. It does not really bother me, but I have noticed it.

Anyway, I think the article is a good read, particularly for students. It gives them some sense of the boundaries for email communication with a professor. Of course, this does vary among professors - some of them can be rather informal, and prefer to be that way.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Picking a wiki is tricky!

So why not use the Wiki Choice Wizard? It asks you some questions about what you are looking for in a wiki, and gives you a list of wikis that will fill that need. Seems to work rather nicely.

Of course, they don't include all wikis (could you ever include all of anything on the web?). I've used Schtuff to create a wiki, and I don't see that one on the list. Schtuff works alright but it does not do everything I would like it to. I wish I'd known about this site when I first created my wiki. Oh well, I can always migrate!

[Found on Download Squad]

Ripping your own CDs is not fair use?

You own a legal copy of a CD. Now you want to rip it onto your iPod. This seems perfectly legal, does it not? Afterall, you own the CD and you are the only one using the ripped version.

Is this considered fair use?

Nope, not according to the RIAA. Of course, my lack of understand of legalese means that I have to take the EFF's word on the interpretation of the actual RIAA filing. Considering EFF's biased nature, this may not be the best idea. Read the EFF article (which links to the actual filing, if you are interested) and decide for yourself.

[found on Download Squad]

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Definitely do NOT try this at home!

This is totally irrelevant to this blog but I found this link on BoingBoing and some of this stuff is pretty unbelievable!

Check out Things I Learn From My Patients courtesy of the Student Doctor Network for some emergency room dark humor. As someone with a friend who will have her M.D. in a few months, I've heard some stories, but nothing like some of these!

I suppose I could tie this in to libraries. It's a resource to use when you are contemplating doing something really stupid and want to research whether or not you should do it. Or you could use it for a persuasive speech on why not to use drugs.

Bad Patrons

I haven't had a chance to post much lately (teaching a class is keeping me very busy!), and all of a sudden there are a bunch of things that I want to post about. Typical.

Saw this article on the blog SumYungLibrarian. Apparently some teens drove a stolen car into the Columbus Metropolitan Library's Livingston branch. On purpose. And injured the branch manager. It's unbelievable what malicious things people will do.

My favorite part of the article is the last paragraph:
When asked if she would ever leave her car unlocked with the motor running again, Mathis replied, "No way."
Wait, what? She doesn't want to leave her car unlocked with the keys in it for someone to steal again? Why not?! After reading this article, I am seriously considering leaving my car unlocked at work with the keys in the ignition. Then I'll sit around hoping someone rams my library with it. Yeah.