Archive for July, 2005

Moving it, losing it, and Jim Croce

Posted in Passé on July 18th, 2005

The gist: my personal website has moved–to waltcrawford.name.

If you’re a traditionalist, http://waltcrawford.com will work (and if you’re really a traditionalist, so will www.waltcrawford.com).

If you’re wondering, waltcrawford.name is hosted by the same fine host as WebJunction and a whole bunch of other library-type sites, including this weblog: lishost.org.

“Losing it”? Well, the walt.crawford.home.att.net site now consists of a note that my website has moved and a link to the new page. Right now, I’m paying att.worldnet $19.95/month to keep that page up (since I’ve moved on to SBC Yahoo! DSL, and that account includes dialup if I need it). I won’t pay that for very long–two or three months at the outside.

Which means my primo ranking in web search engines is likely to be useless for a while. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the new site to reach the first page of results…

Jim Croce? Well, I first registered waltcrawford.com. When I told my wife about it and about the newish “.name” domainspace, she thought I really should use waltcrawford.name as a domain–after all, until/unless I offer some items for sale, it’s not commercial, but it’s based on my name.

So, thanks to 1and1.com (the registrar I used: I could not get godaddy.com’s order form to stop asking for nonexistant mandatory form elements–and 1and1.com is cheaper, at $5.99/year), “I got a name.”

If you’re wondering, there’s nothing new on the new site–but I’ve moved over almost all of the old junk, dated as it may be.

Update: I really do need to thank Blake Carver for easing the transition to LIShost. I’m still a novice at all this DNS and SSH and similar stuff…and having a web editor/FTP client that shows nicely abbreviated forms of Unix directories doesn’t help a lot.

Locking it down: That which is not explicitly permitted is forbidden

Posted in Copyright, Movies and TV on July 18th, 2005

Just a quickie for now: Ed Felten’s Freedom to tinker has this must-read posting.

It’s a fortunately-narrow example of the apparent goal of Big Media with regard to complete “protection.” For years I’ve been saying that the only way to completely protect against unauthorized copying of copyright material is to preclude all copying–which in digital terms means all use–of any material that doesn’t include an explicit rights grant in a secure certificate. Which, to be sure, makes all existing digital information (whether you created it, it’s public domain, whatever) obsolete: No certificate, no copy.

I believe I was one of the first, if not the first, to make the logical progression in public. I truly don’t see any other way to provide the absolute 100% every-copy-accounted-for security that Big Media calls for. And it looks like they’re after a piece of it in HD-DVD.

Great presentations!

Posted in Speaking on July 15th, 2005

Sometimes a link is irresistable. Here at LISWiki is the truly definitive guide to proper presentations.

Thanks to Marianne at Library Supporter for spotting this masterpiece.

Cites & Insights 5:9 available

Posted in Copyright, Media, Writing and blogging on July 14th, 2005

Cites & Insights 5:9, July/August 2005, is now available.

This 22-page issue, PDF as usual (with all but the final section available as HTML pieces), includes:

  • ©3 Perspective: Balancing Rights: MGM v. Grokster: A Question of Balance? – Looking at comments on the oral argument, the Supreme Court’s decision and two concurring opinions, and some of the early reactions–including my own take.
  • Trends & Quick Takes – How 60 interviews becomes six million podcatchers; why you’ll see more promotional DVDs; the least you need to know for OpenURL 1.0; and more–including some notes on why Will Manley’s May 2005 column sucks.
  • Perspective: Predicting the Future of Academic Libraries – A slightly humble commentary on why I turned down a speaking invitation, and what sensible people are saying about small steps toward the future.
  • Interesting & Peculiar Products – The iPoser, voice-operated portable players, overpriced gear, and the photo burner–a baker’s dozen in all.
  • The Library Stuff – Eight articles worth reading.
  • Followups & Feedback – following up five items, a mini-Bibs & Blather, and summaries in lieu of feedback.

Another trivial question

Posted in Movies and TV on July 12th, 2005

Here’s one that could be easy or difficult, depending:

Make the connection between the World Poker Tour and Randy Newman, with a side trip to Coconut Grove.

And here’s a huge hint: at least two previous posts could be related.

This one’s probably easier for people of, shall we say, a certain age.

I’ll post the answer next Tuesday, if nobody comes up with it.

[I believe the answer I'm looking for involves six simple statements, each linked to the next.]

There never really was a blogroll

Posted in Media, Writing and blogging on July 11th, 2005

This Catalogablog post–the second paragraph–convinces me to complete a process that began with this conversation.

Here’s the key paragraph (I do love block quotes in WordPress!):

Part of me says I should drop the sections entirely, or at least the “Library Folk” section; it’s not as though it’s difficult to find librarian weblogs. Part of me says I should stick with making a few changes every couple of months, just offering a sampling of “interesting weblogs I pay attention to.” None of me wants to put all 120+ of my Bloglines subscriptions in a Blogroll. After all, there are some blogs that I track but really don’t agree with or particularly support…although I’ve given up on some of the most extreme.

The conversation that ensued was enlightening, as several conversations here have been. (It and some of the others will probably turn into C&I essays in the future.)

I never did get around to “reshuffling” the limited set of Library Folk and Other Folk (the shuffling each time you call up W.a.R. is a WordPress feature). Given how lax I am in creating entries, and how slow I am in starting the new personal website that I need to start (since I’m now spending $20/month for an AT&T dialup account that serves no other purpose), it’s clear that I’m not going to get around to a well-thought-out, coherent strategy for a somewhat-irrelevant set of links.

So they’re gone. You all know how to find library-related weblogs, and you certainly don’t need my endorsement as to which ones are particularly worthwhile.

(OK, there’s one other factor: I did a “Walt at Random” egosearch on Google, and find that blogrolls are making it almost impossible to find actual citations–to the extent that the result size for the blog is actually larger than for “Walt Crawford,” which is just silly. So I now see a positive downside to blogrolls.)

Infringement or not? A Sith anecdote

Posted in Copyright, Movies and TV on July 6th, 2005

This is a true story with an unknown moral.

I was flying to Chicago for ALA (that is, this happened just under two weeks ago)–nonstop on American from San Jose, in coach, the 6;22 a.m. flight.

As the flight progressed, I noticed that the person one row ahead of me and to the left was watching a movie on their notebook computer (big, bright screen: impossible not to notice).

And that the movie was Star Wars Episode III

Which won’t be available on DVD for a while yet.

Infringement? Unclear.

What made it even more unclear is that there was a big white timing strip running over the picture about a third of the way down, obscuring part of the picture, with constantly changing information. That suggests that this was studio material.

So either it was “deep infringement”–but odd, since the overlay precludes offering it as anything but bootlegged material–or a legitimate screening copy being watched by someone connected with the studio.

The latter is certainly plausible: LucasFilms is, after all, a Bay Area operation.

My best guess is that it wasn’t bootlegged, but what do I know. (No, I didn’t watch enough of it to say anything about the movie; I wouldn’t have noticed it at all except that the notebook was at an angle that made it impossible to ignore. After musing about it for a minute or so, I went back to Asimov’s Science Fiction–I usually catch up with the three semi-major SF magazines when I’m traveling.)

No real moral; just an anecdote.

Grokster: Just a quick note

Posted in Copyright, Media on July 6th, 2005

I haven’t ignored the MGM v. Grokster decision.

But this here weblog is, among other things, about stuff “not quite ready for Cites & Insights“–which admittedly includes several conversations that will sooner or later turn into C&I essays.

The Grokster case is, in fact, “ready.” The essay’s written, and will appear–probably with ongoing refinements–in the July/August C&I, coming later this month.

If you want a hint at my own take, I’ll note that while I’ve been covering Grokster in what I call (C)4, Locking Down Technology, this perspective is flagged as (C)3, Balancing Rights. That’s a strong clue, and it’s fair to say that I was generally pleasantly surprised by the decision.

Several thousand words more (from me and others) in C&I, coming soon to a PDF near you.

Blogging about blogging

Posted in Writing and blogging on July 6th, 2005

That’s the title on this post at Joy Weese Moll’s “Wanderings of a Student Librarian.”

Which begins,

As Walt Crawford likes to imply, metablogging can be a path to a boring navel-gazing blog. But in the last few days, I have benefited from other people’s thoughts about blogging and work.

Which naturally calls for this entry (an entry that also shows I haven’t entirely disappeared yet, although family, health and work issues continue to preclude active posting).

I’d refine that implication: continuous metablogging can be a path to a boring navel-gazing blog and is at the heart of the Great Blogosphere Echo Chamber. But selective metablogging is a wonderful thing!

I’m always honored to be noted by people like Joy, and Dorothea and Meredith (mentioned in Joy’s post). And I’m sure Joy will find a way to continue her weblog after her student days are over.

Music? I’ve thought about posting something on one of the greatest spoken-verse sections I can remember in a song–and the song is named “Joy” (by Harry Nilsson). You can find the lyrics if you want; I won’t quote the spoken section in full (because it exceeds fair use) and I won’t link to the site I found (because it starts loading popups and probably spyware immediately), but it ends with the classic line “And if everyone was happy, there wouldn’t be any love songs” (probably misquoted). Sorry, Joy: I won’t do it again.

SciFi Classics 50-movie Pack, Disc 2

Posted in Movies and TV on July 3rd, 2005

Horrors of Spider Island, 1960, b&w, Fritz Böttger (dir.), Harald Maresch, Helga Franck, others you’ve never heard of. Original title Ein Toter hing im Netz (“A corpse hangs in the web”); also released in the U.S. as Body in the Web, Girls of Spider Island, It’s Hot in Paradise, The Spider’s Web. 1:29 (or 1:21 or 1:17). [1:14]

The IMDB trivia notes reveal a lot: This was originally released in the U.S. as an “Adults-only” movie, then trimmed of the nude scenes for this odd version. It would make more sense with full nudity. Maybe. (This one was used by MST3K.) The plot, such as it is: A bunch of women are interviewed (which mostly involves showing off their legs) to join a dance troupe headed for Singapore. The plane crashes. After a few raft scenes, the women (and one man) make it to an island where they find a cabin with, gasp, a man suspended in the middle of a huge spider’s net. The man gets bitten by a radioactive spider and turns into a furry-headed claw-handed monster of some sort—while the women run around in what’s left of their clothes. Two men arrive to help the uranium prospector (the dead guy), radio their ship to come back for the women, a couple of people die, and there’s lots of dancing. All accompanied by mild jazz/pop, much of it with a substantial lag between sight and sound. A mess, but a mildly amusing mess. $0.50.

The Wasp Woman, 1960, b&w, Roger Corman (dir.), Susan Cabot, Anthony Eisley. 1:13.

Not bad at all. An eccentric scientist who’s supposed to be extracting royal jelly from bees thinks he can do better by extracting wasp jelly. The woman who founded a cosmetics company and always used her face on the products laments lower sales because she’s getting older. The scientist believes that he can reverse the aging process with the wasp jelly. And so he does—but she takes a little too much of it (without the mad scientist’s knowledge) and, after losing half her apparent age, starts turning into “wasp woman” every so often, killing and eating some of her staff. You can see how Corman managed to do this on the cheap: The wasp-woman makeup is quite effective, but all her appearances on screen probably add up to two or three minutes and were probably all filmed in one day. Not a masterpiece, but a coherent story and a typically competent Corman flick. Decent print and sound. $1.50

Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet, 1965, color, Curtis Harrington (dir.), Basil Rathbone, Faith Domergue. 1:18 [1:13]

A surprisingly good B sci-fi flick for its time, particularly given that much (most?) of the footage is Russian (obvious from a couple of brand names, but the odd lack of coherence between the spoken dialogue and lip movements in most scenes makes one suspicious). Turns out that this movie and the other one on Side B of Disc 2 are Roger Corman productions consisting of new American footage (probably the scenes with Basil Rathbone and, separately, Faith Domergue, almost always alone or with one other actor in a “space station” or “space ship” set) intercut with footage from a well-made Russian SF movie, Planeta Bur. (I’d guess all of the Venus exploration was from the Russian flick.) Generally good print, decent sound. In a way, this is sad: The movie’s set in 2020, by which time we’d explored and colonized the moon and were ready to explore Venus with manned spacecraft. Or maybe not. $1.50

Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, 1968, color, Peter Bogdanovich (dir.), Mamie Van Doren. 1:18 [1:19]

Another Russian-American hybrid: New scenes of Mamie Van Doren and a bunch of others filmed by Bogdanovich blended with footage from the Russian Planeta Bur (provided by Roger Corman). Do not watch this picture within a week of watching Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet—unless you want to thrill at Roger Corman’s sheer gall. Not only is most of the movie the same Russian footage as in the other flick, the dubbed dialog is the same—which leads to a bizarro note that the command center for the Venus voyage was “Marsha,” to cover for the earlier movie’s dialog between landed astronauts and Faith Domergue (Marsha) still out in space. Bogdanovich provides voice-over narration for this reconfigured version. The nine women in the new scenes, all in seashell tops and full-length pants, never speak: all their dialog is “telepathic” voice-overs. They don’t act much either, mostly just providing a few minutes’ footage to make this a different movie. (They don’t really provide much in the way of eye candy either, to tell the truth. They’re just there.) The color generally seems washed out; otherwise, the print varies from very good to damaged. There’s a little more of the original footage this time, including grand shots of the space ships taking off (with a very obvious single red star on the rocket fins) and refueling at a space station (where, wondrously, the Cyrillic lettering on the ships in moving shots turns into unlikely English-language names such as “Typhoon,” just what you’d call an exploration ship). Good enough if you haven’t seen the 1965 version; otherwise, I’d pass. $1.

Corman scores: Even with the single movie recut and padded into two different releases, this is an enjoyable foursome. I wonder if Planeta Bur would be worth watching on its own (with subtitles?).


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