“Yahooeee!” they exclaimed?

Jan 23rd, 2008 Posted in uncategorized | Comments Off on “Yahooeee!” they exclaimed?

Well, no. “Holy cow,” it was.

Perhaps because I am frequently an anonymous donor, I love stories like this. It’s a press; it’s a good press, and it’s a local press.

“Yay!” to the donor, whoever you are. I’ve been thinking about my giving a lot lately, and this came at a timely moment.

Copper Canyon Press gets big — and anonymous — donation

You had me until the word “Amazon”

Jan 21st, 2008 Posted in uncategorized | Comments Off on You had me until the word “Amazon”

Wikipedia founder wants librarians

The stacks are different now

Jan 20th, 2008 Posted in uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Steve Warren has just been hired as the Upsher (Texas) County Librarian by the county commissioners there. The headline in the Tyler Morning Telegraph reads, “Upsher County Hires First Male Librarian.” While the headline might merit some discussion, I think Steve Warren’s reason for wanting the job is even more talk-worthy:

” (I have) always enjoyed being in libraries…”

Mr. Warren may be the perfect person for this job, and he may be very well-qualified. He doesn’t hold an MLIS or an MLS, but he was hired with the stipulation that he must get one within three years (another topic for discussion). He may really enjoy his work at the library. However…

Anyone considering a career as a librarian needs to have a much better reason for wanting the job and joining the profession. Hopefully Mr. Warren has better reasons, and they just didn’t get reported in this article.

Quick Bit with Michael Pollan

Jan 20th, 2008 Posted in uncategorized | Comments Off on Quick Bit with Michael Pollan

I picked up The Omnivore’s Dilemma right before I started school. I’m sad that I haven’t finished reading it. I have lots of other reading that, while very enjoyable, interesting, and thought-provoking, seems a little more necessary and a little more like “work.” I still keep buying Michael Pollan’s books though.

He has a new book, In Defense of Food, An Eater’s Manifesto. I will likely buy a copy at the University Book Store which will give me a free ticket to hear Michael Pollan speak at Town Hall in Seattle.

In the mean time, here’s a snippet from an interview I ran across today:

I have eaten locally and seasonally for years now, although I used to supplement my farm share frequently. I would buy meat, cheese, fruit, out-of-season veggies, and loads of “pantry items.” I now find myself supplementing my farm share with less, although I frequently buy fruit. More importantly, I’m actively working to supplement it less. I’ll expound in a later post. I have lots of reading to catch up on right now!

Taking License

Jan 6th, 2008 Posted in uncategorized | Comments Off on Taking License

Many software companies license their software to a single user on multiple personal machines. When I buy software from those companies I am free to install it on my desktop computer and on my laptop computer.

Apple licenses Leopard for a single machine, not for a single user. That means I need to buy one license (at $129.00) for my desktop and another license for my laptop. $258.00 plus tax. Unacceptable.

Apple created a "Family Pack" — five licenses for $199.99 — as a way for people to have multiple licenses at a lower cost. Still unacceptable. "You can give the other three licenses away," said the employee at the Apple Store.

I bought the Family Pack at a ridiculous $216.71, but I wanted to think about the situation before opening it and installing it. Would it really do any harm to buy the single license and install it on my two personal machines? Could I sell the remaining three licenses in my Family Pack and recoup some of the money I spent?

I’m comfortable with the decision I finally made, although it’s still not ideal. I forgot I’m eligible for the academic pricing. I will return the Family Pack to the Apple Store, and I will buy two licenses for $138.00 under academic pricing at the University Bookstore. The result: I play by the rules and only have to pay a semi-ridiculous price.

I don’t always play by the rules, but if I’m going to break ’em I need to feel confident in my logic and reasoning about why I’m breaking ’em. I’m loyal to Apple, but situations like these annoy me and erode my allegiance.

On Thin Ice

Jan 6th, 2008 Posted in uncategorized | 2 Comments »

I don’t even know where to begin here.

Tim and I came across this product while wandering around Whole Foods yesterday. They’re called “IceRocks.” For $4.00 you get four blister packs each containing twelve sealed compartments of water. Pop ’em in your freezer, and guess what!?! You get ice!

This is ludicrous on so many levels. I have tried to think of situations where this product would be beneficial, but none of the resulting situations (mostly dealing with widespread, emergency aid) involve a $4.00 purchase at Whole Foods.

Doesn’t everyone have the recipe for ice? If not, isn’t it easy enough to learn? If you don’t want to use tap water for ice, why not buy bottled water? Better yet, why not install a filter on your tap or use a BRITA? I’m trying to understand the rationale of buying pre-portioned water to put in your freezer. I’m also trying to understand the energy costs associated with such a product.

Here are some gems from the IceRocks website:

“Do it for yourself.” (WHY is this one of their mottos? This doesn’t even make sense.)

“Think blue, be green.” (Greenwashing anyone?)

“ICEROCKS® is sold in its unfrozen state (liquid), making it a product offering substantial savings in terms of delivery costs, in that it does not require trucks to be refrigerated for transportation.”

It’s hard to pick a favorite line from their site, but this one might be it:

“These ice cubes will be an enjoyable way for children to experience and practice healthy eating habits and pure ice.” (Yes. Think of the children.)

I expect I will be writing a letter to Whole Foods today. WF carries a lot of crap and does a bit of greenwashing itself. But this one is the ICE-ing on the cake.

Come back here you evil snack cake!

Aug 31st, 2007 Posted in uncategorized | Comments Off on Come back here you evil snack cake!

The folks at Free Range Studios (who also produced The Meatrix) have come up with a silly, biased, yet entertaining and short little video about the Farm Bill.

I also bumped into a really excellent podcast available from NPR’s Science Friday show. The podcast includes commentary by Michael Pollan and Marian Nestle, two authors I really enjoy. I haven’t been doing any reading for pleasure lately, but Pollan’s latest book is probably at the top of my “Must Read” list. As is the full text of the farm bill.


Aug 29th, 2007 Posted in uncategorized | Comments Off on Clamor

I don’t think about fried clams very often. They certainly aren’t part of my cooking repertoire. But oh how I love them! When I lived in Boston I spent many a late summer afternoon (having been at the beach all day) enjoying the fried clams at Woodman’s, The Clam Box , or Essex Seafood. These clam shacks, like many of the foods I enjoy most, are seasonal. Summer only. It was at Woodman’s where, in addition to fried clams, I enjoyed my first lobster roll and my first raw clams and oysters. I’m still not a fan of raw clams, but everything else has an honored place in my food psyche.

What got me thinking about this was David Leite’s mouthwatering article in today’s New York Times“In a ’64 T-Bird, Chasing a Date With a Clam”.

As the summer winds down, I’d like to think I’ll be eating some good fried clams soon. Unfortunately, I just don’t see how that’s going to happen.

Photo by *reesie / Reese used under Creative Commons license
“Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0”

Response to the power of 3 (and Janes)

Aug 17th, 2007 Posted in uncategorized | Comments Off on Response to the power of 3 (and Janes)

I’m writing about Rory Litwin’s response to Mark Rosenzweig’s response (subscription required, although Litwin posts the full text) to Laura Cohen’s “Library 2.0 Manifesto.” I barely agree with Rosenzweig; I’m closer in agreement with Litwin. But what strikes me most is how “over the top” Rosenzweig’s response is. His fervor seems almost fanatical.

After spending the last few months researching “Library 2.0,” I’m conflicted about libraries’ “rush” to adopt it. Technology moves fast, and — quite simply — I’m not sure libraries have historically been early adopters or as fast moving as the technology sector. If libraries don’t work quickly today’s technology will be obsolete. But a rush to employ useless technology for the sake of Library 2.0 is a complete waste.

On a different subject, I see Joe Janes has written an article “The Library, Reinvented” which I haven’t yet read. I’ll be taking two classes with Janes this Autumn, and he was one of the people — unbeknownst to him — who inspired me to apply to grad school.

Non-Google Searches

Aug 15th, 2007 Posted in search, uncategorized | Comments Off on Non-Google Searches

Christopher Beam has written an article for Slate entitled “FrankenGoogle: How to mash together the ultimate search engine” in which he asks, “What would the ultimate non-Google search engine look like?” He’s also probably previewing the next few companies Google might try to snatch up.