Welcome Back, Opus, and Other Stuff

Posted in Pop Culture on September 25th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: Opus is returning. The penguin who anchored Bloom County returns to the weekend-only funny pages on November 23rd. It remains to be seen if the Edmonton Journal will carry the strip. I’m not holding my breath. But this is great news, one of those “I never thunk it would happen again” moments. Great work, Berkeley! (Derryl sent word of this to me. He’s changed his blog, Cold Ground, to a TypePad site, check it out, it looks great!)

This Slate article discusses which comic strips will be important in this decade. Leading the pack for me is Boondocks, which of course isn’t published in either newspaper here in Edmonton.

:: OCLC has released an official statement regarding its lawsuit with The Library Hotel.

:: If you thought a 19-inch monitor was the pièce de résistance, check out these megascreens from Liebermann. The Cinerama has a 45″, 51″ or 57″ screen size. Not big enough for you? The Grand Canyon comes in 76″, 81″ and 92″ screen sizes (resolution is 6400×1200 pixels). The 92″ is a bargain at $17,499.99US. (From: Roland Piquepaille).

:: My most excellent Winnipeg friends Steve, Mike and Tony like to hop on their bicycles and ride for long period of time, take pictures of themselves doing this, and then post them on the web. Bike With Mike is a document of their cycling adventures.

Transferring video to DVD

Posted in Technology on September 25th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: Hewlett Packard has introduced a device called a DC3000 DVD Movie Writer, that lets you transfer VHS and other formats, including BetaMax, to DVD. Another new toy!

Firsts

Posted in Library, Technology on September 24th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: I experienced two “firsts” today. At work, we began our Librarian On-Site! service. For the first time in my 25-year career as a librarian, I left the library to do information and reference work, and went to where the users “live”, on their turf. I set up shop in a large computer lab, and offered consulting to any engineering student or faculty who needed help. It was a lot of fun, especially in the second hour, when a class of chemical engineering design students descended upon me with a propane pricing and chemical property question.

The other “first” was more personal – I was fitted for a hearing aid. Yah, you read that correctly. It’s wonderful getting old. I’ve had a version of low tone conductive deafness in my right ear since 1985 or so. It’s never worsened or improved, so my ear doctor suggested I consider a hearing aid. I’m going to try it for a few weeks, and then decide whether or not to purchase (~$1,500Cdn, just a pile of chump change).

A hearing aid. I can’t believe I typed those words. It seems to work well most of the time. It doesn’t work well with a telephone or headset or headphones, so I’ll have to get used to using the phone in my left ear. It has two settings, one for group noise (used in a meeting or a party), and a basic setting for conversation. The device feels ok in my ear, not too much of a bother, and most people I spoke to didn’t even notice it. That’s cool because it protects a bit of my vanity, but inside, a small part of me is very, very sad.

Bitch, Bitch

Posted in Random Thoughts on September 23rd 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: I’ve been cranky all week. Sometimes I don’t want to be around other sentient beings, and I think most of Those Sentient Beings are aware of that right now. I’ve been working hard on a new eating plan and exercising six days a week, and I don’t feel or look any different. I’ve been on the eating plan since August 6th. It’s very frustrating at this point in time. I’m beginning to wonder if I might have to accept the fact that I will not lose my tummy, despite my best efforts, or get in better shape. I’ve consulted with a nutritionist and a personal trainer. What’s left to try? Oh, I could bang my head against a wall.

It’s like, things seem so collectively lousy right now that the smallest, dumb thing that happens causes me to giggle hysterically for a second or two. I’d like to take an industrial-strength vacuum cleaner, and suck all the shyte out of my house, the zillion papers and magazines and other peripheral junk, and stare at the walls.

OCLC – Not The Bad Guy After All?

Posted in Library on September 23rd 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: More news about the OCLC-Library Hotel lawsuit is emerging. According to the Sept 26 Library Journal Academic Newswire (to which I have no e-access, and which I cannot quote for 60 days according to its redistribution rules, and therefore am paraphrasing), OCLC has tried, for three years, to get the owners of The Library Hotel to sign a simple agreement regarding use of the DDC. The agreement would in effect acknowledge that The Library Hotel’s use of the DDC was done with permission of OCLC. The owner of the hotel is a man named Henry Kallan, and according to the OCLC lawyer, Joseph Dreitler, they heard nothing from him for two years. Then, in 2002, Dreitler noted that, “He basically told OCLC to get lost.” At the moment, the hotel has denied any wrongdoing, and the General Manager, Craig Spitzer, has advised that Kallan is on vacation and will speak with the press when he returns.

At this point, I think I’m siding with OCLC.

Stay tuned. Who would’ve thought that the library world could get this exciting? I wonder what Melvil would do? Why doesn’t OCLC have a press release about this on their web site? And what’s up with the Library Hotel Erotica Package, and its special Erotic Literature Room? Mmm…classify that under, “rrrrrrrrrrr“.

Databases and The Ethics of Sharing Passwords

Posted in Library on September 21st 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: Randy Cohen writes perhaps my favorite column, The Ethicist (ID and PW: podbay), for the NYTimes Magazine. He is the author of The Good, The Bad & The Difference: How to Tell Right From Wrong in Everyday Situations. In the Sept 7, 2003, issue of the NYTimes Magazine, he responded to a question from a high school student regarding the use of online resources at a university attended by her brother, by using his password to gain access. I work at a university with a large number of online resources, and wonder how often this happens, since we are unable to patrol who actually is using passwords when off campus. Here is the question and Cohen’s response:
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