Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Blight of the Modern Novel

According to a New York Times Sunday Book Review Essay by Erica Wagner [thanks Elizabeth!], the cell phone is the bane of the modern novel's existence and the reason that historical fiction is so popular.

How does one write a great mystery novel in the age of the cell phone? These days you can call the police from anywhere, track down a missing person by calling their cell, or speed up your sleuthing by searching for clues while making phone calls at the same time. It's tragic!

And it goes beyond just the novel. Our lives are too traceable and well-documented anymore (take Twitter for example - ack!) So let's add some mystery! Leave your cell phone at home while walking through dark alleys, let the battery run dead before you find yourself with an urgent need to call 9-1-1, and don't answer your phone when you know people are wondering where on earth you are. :)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Gmail's Delete Shortcut

I have been complaining for a while that Gmail has just about every keyboard shortcut under the sun except the shortcut to delete email. Well, Andrew recently forwarded me a Lifehacker post that says otherwise. There actually is one, but it seems to be kept secret.

So for anyone who may care, the keyboard shortcut is shift + 3 (or the # key).


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Social Networks for Bibliophiles

Newsweek has a list of websites where book lovers can discuss the latest books they've read, connect to other people who've read the same books they have, swap books, and more.

The only one listed that I've tinkered with is LibraryThing, which is fun but not something I've invested much time into yet.

I suspect some of my friends over at Rage in the Page might be interested in a few of these.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Are machines too smart?

And the users too dumb?

Creating Passionate Users is one of those blogs I rarely read because her posts are so long and really, who has time for that with 80 feeds vying for attention? But this particular post, Are our tools making us dumber?, is pretty dang interesting.

My impatience with balancing a checkbook without the use of a calculator would indicate so. As frightening as it is to admit, my math skills have definitely declined because a calculator is so much more convenient.

I also really wish I'd learned HTML before trying to use Dreamweaver instead of vice versa. It really would have helped with all those insane urges to tear out my hair.

I think this is also part of the reason I try to explain "why" to library users. Of course, my explanation isn't the most brilliant - "okay, the library catalog is dumb. Unlike Google, it doesn't think to insert 'and' between all your words, and it also doesn't eliminate all those extra words you don't need, like 'a', 'an, 'the', etc." Before one can really understand something, I think the "why" behind it is important, even if it's not exact. Don't just use the tool, get a basic understanding of it first.

I wonder how else this can apply to libraries...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Closing Oregon Libraries

According to this article from, Oregon's Jackson County Public Libraries are going to have to close due to a $7 million cut in federal funding.

The imminent closure or threatened reduction in services and hours has happened in other libraries lately, but they are always saved in the nick of time. Here's hoping that these libraries won't have to close their doors either!